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Lynton  Kistler 

Interviewed  by  Joanne  L.  Ratner 

Completed  under  the  auspices 

of  the 

Oral  History  Program 

University  of  California 

Los  Angeles 

Copyright   ©   1993 
The  Regents  of  the  University  of  California 


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This  manuscript  is  hereby  made  available  for  research 
purposes  only.   All  literary  rights  in  the  manuscript, 
including  the  right  to  publication,  are  reserved  to 
the  University  Library  of  the  University  of  California, 
Los  Angeles.   No  part  of  the  manuscript  may  be  quoted 
for  publication  without  the  written  permission  of  the 
University  Librarian  of  the  University  of  California, 
Los  Angeles. 

Photograph  courtesy  of  Tobey  C.   Moss  Gallery,   Los 
Angeles,  California. 


Biographical  Summary vii 

Interview  History xi 

TAPE  NUMBER:   I,  Side  One  (December  13,  1988) 1 

Ancestry  and  family  background--Parents  and 
childhood--Early  education--Serves  in  World  War 

TAPE  NUMBER:   I,  Side  Two  (December  13,  1988) 14 

Learns  the  process  of  lithography--Meeting 
artists,  dealers,  and  other  patrons  of  the  arts-- 
Printing  Picture  Book  for  Jean  Chariot. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   II,  Side  One  (January  3,  1989) 30 

Father,  William  A.  Kistler,  publishes  Out  West 
magazine--More  about  his  early  education-- 
Innovations  in  printing  in  the  twenties  and 
thirties--Convincing  customers  to  switch  to 
offset  printing. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   II,  Side  Two  (January  3,  1989) 44 

Alois  Senefelder  and  the  invention  of 
lithography- -More  on  printing  for  Charlot-- 
Exhibition  at  the  Stendahl  Gallery--Attracting 
artists  to  the  medium  of  lithography. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   III,  Side  One  (January  10,  1989) 62 

Galleries  and  exhibitions  for  prints  in  L.A.  in 
the  thirties--Artists  and  other  people  interested 
in  prints  in  the  thirties--More  on  learning  the 
process  of  lithography--Prices  of  prints-- 
California  Printmakers  and  Los  Angeles  Art 

TAPE  NUMBER:   III,  Side  Two  (January  10,  1989) 78 

Working  with  Merle  Armitage- -Warren  Newcombe--The 
Art  of  Edward  Weston--Other  early  books--More  on 
Merle  Armitage. 


TAPE  NUMBER:   IV,  Side  One  (January  17,  1989) 95 

More  on  working  with  Armitage--Converting  from 
letterpress  to  offset  lithography  printing-- 
Giovanni  Napolitano:   Fifteen  Reproductions  of 
His  Work--Modern  Dance--Paul  Landacre- -Books  on 
Stravinsky  and  Picasso. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   IV,  Side  Two  (January  17,  1989) 110 

Martha  Graham- -Working  in  his  father's  plant-- 
Presses  and  stones  he  failed  to  acquire--The 
qualities  of  lithography  stones--Fit  for  a  King: 
The  Merle  Armitage  Book  of  Food--Move  to  New  York-- 
Changes  in  printing  materials  and  equipment. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   V,  Side  One  (January  24,  1989) 128 

Artists  he  worked  with  in  the  thirties--More  on 
working  with  Charlot--Involvement  with  Los 
Angeles  art  schools. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   V,  Side  Two  (January  24,  1989) 144 

"Brooklyn  Museum  Retrospective  Print  Show,  1913- 
1947 "--Need  to  keep  exercising  one's  lithography 
skills--Charlot ' s  personality--Encouragement  from 
the  Metropolitan  Museum  of  Art--More  on  working 
with  Chariot. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   VI,  Side  One  (January  31,  1989) 157 

Picture  Book  No.  II--Closing  the  plant--Printing 
for  Marcia  Maris--Jack  Lord  and  Picture  Book  No. 
II--Printing  a  miniature  of  the  original  Picture 
Book- -Printing  at  Blanchard  Press  in  New  York. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   VI,  Side  Two  (January  31,  1989) 172 

Zinc  plates  replaced  by  aluminum--Dif f iculty  of 
doing  plates  for  The  Little  Seamstress--Kei  Viti-- 
More  on  working  with  Chariot. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   VII,  Side  One  (February  21,  1989) 184 

Printing  for  artists  in  Los  Angeles--More  on 
changes  in  printing  materials  and  technology- - 
Herbert  Ryman--Other  lithographers  in  Los 
Angeles--More  on  printing  for  artists  in  Los 

TAPE  NUMBER:   VII,  Side  Two  (February  21,  1989) 197 

Los  Angeles  art  galleries'  promotion  of  prints  in 
the  forties--Working  with  Man  Ray--Working  with  Max 
Ernst--The  working  relationship  between  artists  and 
printers--Refusal  to  print  pornography. 

TAPE  hfUMBER:   VIII,  Side  One  (March  7,  1989) 211 

The  Bulletin- -Publishes  How  To  Make  a  Lithograph- - 
Organizes  an  exhibit-- Joseph  Mugnaini--Projects 
which  were  never  completed- -Eugene  Berman. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   VIII,  Side  Two  (March  7,  1989) 230 

Sets  up  a  commercial  printing  business  on  West 
Temple  Street- -Differences  between  stone  and 
offset  lithography--Necessity  of  advertising  in 
today's  market. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   IX,  Side  One  (March  21,  1989) 243 

Slides  of  the  lithography  process--Slides  of 
prints  by  Jean  Chariot. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   IX,  Side  Two  (March  21,  1989) 256 

Slides  of  lithographs  by  various  artists. 
TAPE  NUMBER:   X,  Side  One  (March  21,  1989) 270 

More  slides  of  lithographs. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   XI,  Side  One  (March  28,  1989) 278 

The  opening  of  lithography  workshops  in  the 
sixties--Advantages  of  collecting  prints-- 
Relationship  with  the  various  lithography 
workshops--Decision  to  quit  the  printing 
business--More  on  Merle  Armitage--Carl  Haverlin 
arranges  exhibit  at  California  State  University, 
Northridge--Decision  not  to  stay  in  New  York-- 
Home  at  Patricia  Avenue. 

TAPE  NUMBER:   XI,  Side  Two  (March  28,  1989) 295 

Galleries  and  prints--His  contributions  to 
lithography--His  most  noteworthy  prints. 

Index 303 

Index  of  Books  and  Prints  Printed  by  Lynton  Kistler 307 




Bom:   August  30,  1897,  Los  Angeles. 

Education:   Hollywood  High  School  and  Manual  Arts  High 
School,  Los  Angeles. 

Military  Service:   Private,  United  States  Army,  1917-18, 

Spouses:   Naomi  Tucker  Kistler,  one  child;  Helen 
Mikesell  Kistler;  Lelah  Morris  Kistler. 


The  Work  of  Maier-Krieg  (1932). 

The  Lithographs  of  Richard  Day  (1932). 

Warren  Newcombe  (1932). 

The  Art  of  Edward  Weston  (1932). 

Rockwell  Kent  (1932). 

Picture  Book,  Jean  Chariot  (1933). 

Henrietta  Shore  (1933). 

Elise  (1934). 

Zarathustra  Jr.  Speaks  of  Art,  Louis  Danz  (1934). 

Millard  Sheets  (1935). 

The  Capture  of  Inspiration,  Robert  E.  Schmitz  (1935). 

Napolitano:  Fifteen  Reproductions  of  His  Work  in  Oil, 
Sgraffito,  Fresco,  Drawing,  and  Mechanical  Design 

Modern  Dance,  Ramiel  McGehee,  editor  (1935). 

Hollywood  Bowl,  Isabel  Morse  Jones  (1936). 

Igor  Stavinsky,  Merle  Armitage  (1936). 


Trip  to  Greece;  Photographs,  Jerome  Hill  (1936). 

Two  Statements,  Pablo  Picasso  (1936). 

Martha  Graham,  Merle  Armitage,  editor  (1937). 

Books  and  Typography  Designed  by  Merle  Armitage,  Ramiel 
McGehee,  editor  (1938). 

"Fit  for  a  King";  The  Merle  Armitage  Book  of  Food, 
Ramiel  McGehee,  editor  (1939). 

Santos;  A  Primitive  American  Art,  Willard  Houghland 

Burro  Alley,  Edwin  Corle  (1946). 

First  Penthouse  Dwellers  of  America,  Ruth  M.  Underbill 
(1946).  "^ 

Fifty  Photographs  by  Edward  Weston  (1947). 

Dance  Memoranda,  Merle  Armitage,  edited  by  Edwin  Corle 

Alphabet  for  Adults,  Man  Ray  (1948). 

Max  Ernst;  Thirty  Years  of  His  Work  (1949). 

How  to  Make  a  Lithograph,  Lynton  Kistler  (1950). 

Stella  Dysart  of  Ambrosia  Lake,  Merle  Armitage  (1959). 

Success  Is  No  Accident;  The  Biography  of  William  Paul 
Whitsett,  Merle  Armitage  (1959). 

Pagans,  Conguistadors,  Heroes,  and  Martyrs,  Merle 
Armitage  (1960,  1964). 

.  .  .  Of  Streets  and  Stars,  Alan  Marcus  (1960). 

Painter  into  Artist:  The  Progress  of  Edward  O'Brien, 
Margaret  Phillips  and  Merle  Armitage  (1964). 

No  Going  Back;  Odyssey  of  a  Conversion,  Margaret 
Phillips  (1964). 

Atanas  Katchamakof f .   Leskovetz,  La  Quinta  (1965). 

Picture  Book  No.  II,  Jean  Chariot  (1973). 


Picture  Book,  miniature  copy,  Jean  Chariot  (1974) 

Clinton  Adams 
Eugene  Berman 
Jean  Chariot 
Phil  Dike 
Lorser  Feitelson 
Mary  Finley  Fry 
Richard  Haines 
Paul  Landacre 
Helen  Lundeberg 
Marcia  Maris 
Stanton  Macdonald-Wright 
Joseph  Mugnaini 
Jean  Negulesco 
Warren  Newcombe 
Phil  Paradise 
Herbert  Ryman 
Palmer  Schoppe 
Millard  Sheets 
Jan  Stussy 
Wayne  Thiebaud 
June  Wayne 
Beatrice  Wood 



American  Institute  of  Graphic  Arts,  Fifty  Books  of  the 
Year,  Warren  Newcombe  (1932),  The  Art  of  Edward  Weston 


How  To  Make  a  Lithograph.   Los  Angeles,  1950, 



Joanne  L.  Ratner,  Interviewer,  UCLA  Oral  History- 
Program.   B.A.,  American  Studies/Art  History,  Scripps 
College;  M,A.,  Art  History/Museum  Studies,  University  of 
Southern  California. 


Place:   Kistler's  home,  Laguna  Hills,  California. 

Dates,  length  of  sessions:   December  13,  1988  (69 
minutes);  January  3,  1989  (80);  January  10,  1989  (78); 
January  17,  1989  (84);  January  24,  1989  (67);  January 
31,  1989  (62);  February  21,  1989  (63);  March  7,  1989 
(67);  March  21,  1989  (103);  March  28,  1989  (62). 

Total  number  of  recorded  hours:   12.25 

Persons  present  during  interview:   Kistler  and  Ratner. 
Kistler's  wife,  Lelah  Kistler,  was  present 
intermittently . 


In  preparing  for  the  interview,  Ratner  reviewed 
Kistler's  papers  at  UCLA's  William  Andrews  Clark 
Memorial  Library.   These  included  a  selection  of 
Kistler's  correspondence  dating  from  1934  to  1981,  the 
majority  of  which  was  between  Kistler  and  the  artist 
Jean  Chariot;  Kistler's  personal  collection  of  books  on 
lithography;  and  exhibition  catalogs,  articles,  and 
reviews.   In  addition,  Ratner  looked  at  the  UCLA  Oral 
History  Program's  1976  interview  with  artist  June  Wayne. 

Although  the  interview  begins  with  a  chronological 
format,  for  the  most  part  it  is  organized  by  topics. 
Major  topics  discussed  include  Kistler's  initial  interest 
in  lithography,  the  lithography  process  itself,  Los 
Angeles  artists  Kistler  worked  with,  his  relationships 
with  Merle  Armitage  and  Jean  Chariot,  the  lack  of  support 
for  lithography,  and  specific  lithographs  Kistler 
printed.   On  Tapes  IX  and  X  the  interviewer  and  Kistler 
viewed  and  discussed  a  series  of  slides  which  depicted 
the  lithography  process  itself  and  the  various  prints 
which  Kistler  had  done  over  the  years. 



David  P.  Gist,  editor,  edited  the  interview.   He  checked 
the  verbatim  transcript  of  the  interview  against  the 
original  tape  recordings,  edited  for  punctuation, 
paragraphing,  and  spelling,  and  verified  proper  names. 
Words  and  phrases  inserted  by  the  editor  have  been 

Kistler  was  unable  to  review  the  draft  transcript. 
Therefore,  Tobey  Moss,  a  gallery  owner  and  expert  on 
California  modernist  art,  reviewed  it.   She  verified 
proper  names  and  asked  Kistler  for  names  and  spellings 
she  was  unsure  of. 

Teresa  Barnett,  senior  editor,  prepared  the  table  of 
contents,  biographical  summary,  and  interview  history. 
Steven  J.  Novak,  editor,  compiled  the  index. 


The  original  tape  recordings  of  the  interview  are  in  the 
university  archives  and  are  available  under  the 
regulations  governing  the  use  of  permanent  noncurrent 
records  of  the  university.   Records  relating  to  the 
interview  are  located  in  the  office  of  the  UCLA  Oral 
History  Program. 

Kistler 's  papers  are  deposited  at  the  William  Andrews 
Clark  Memorial  Library,  and  are  listed  as  Press  Coll 


DECEMBER  13,  1988 

RATNER:   I'd  like  to  begin  our  discussion  today  by  talking 
a  little  bit  about  your  background.   Would  you  mind  telling 
me  a  little  about  your  family,  where  they're  from  and  how 
they  came  to  California? 

KISTLER:   The  family  originally  came  from  northern 
Switzerland  and  southern  Germany.   That  is,  the  Kistler 
family.   My  maternal  grandmother  [Mary  Richards]  was 
English.   The  Kistlers  migrated  to  this  country  from 
Germany  in  about  1723  or  around  that  date.   They  first 
settled  in  New  York  and  finally  drifted  down  to 
Pennsylvania,  where  they  established  themselves.   There  is 
a  Kistler  Valley  in  Pennsylvania  now,  which  is  outside  of 
Allentown.   It's  quite  a  beautiful,  green  valley  and 
farming  and  dairy  country.   I've  been  back  there  twice,  and 
I'm  the  only  member  of  this  branch  of  the  family  that's 
been  back  to  the  old  home.   The  first  time  I  went  back,  we 
ran  into  some  Kistlers  there.   There  were  quite  a  few  of 
them  living  there  at  that  time.   That  was  back  in  about 
1940,  in  that  area.   I  thought  that  I  had  probably  run  into 
a  group  of  people  that  were  representative  of  the  whole 
family.   They  had  a  big  stone  house  and  a  large  barn.   They 
were  farming  people.   I  was  working  in  New  York  at  the  time 
and  I  had  a  New  York  license  on  my  car,  so  that  they  were 

quite  suspicious  of  me  and  didn't  receive  me  very  well, 
although  I  did  make  it  clear  that  I  was  a  Kistler.   I  found 
the  valley  there  a  very  beautiful  place.   There's  a  church 
up  on  the  hill.   There's  a  cemetery,  and  most  of  the  stones 
in  the  cemetery  were  Kistler  stones. 

I'm  not  sure--  Well,  the  second  time  we  went  back  was 
with  Lelah  [Morris  Kistler]  here.   We  came  in  from  Ohio  and 
down  into  Pennsylvania.   We  ran  into  some  people  at  the 
head  of  this  valley  that  were  quilting,  making  a  quilt.   It 
was  quite  a  beautiful  thing.   We  were  quite  impressed  with 
it.   They  said  that  they  still  got  together  every  Saturday, 
I  think  it  was,  and  did  some  quilting.   When  was  that 
date?   Do  you  remember,  Lelah?   You  remember  the  date 
thereabout?   [inaudible  reply]   Yeah,  it  was  right  in 
there,  '81  or  '82.   So  after  visiting  with  these  very  nice 
people  for  a  while,  why,  we  went  on  down  the  road,  and  I 
found  a  sign  on  a  garage.   It  said  "William  A.  Kistler 
Garage."   That  was  my  father's  name,  and  I  felt  quite  at 
home.   [laughter]   Then  we  went  on  down  the  valley  a  little 
ways,  and  we  came  to  a  sign  that  said  "Aunt  Grade's  Gift 
Shop."   I  stopped  and  I  said,  "Let's  go  in  and  see  Aunt 
Gracie  and  see  what  she  knows."   So  we  went  up  the  driveway 
a  little  ways,  and  there  was  a  stone  house  to  the  left  of 
the  road.   We  looked  around  there,  and  we  found  a 
cornerstone  on  the  house  that  said,  "This  house  was  built 

in  1812"--was  it,  Lelah?--"by  Samuel  Kistler."   I  have  a 
Bible,  an  old  Bible,  and  it  says  in  it,  "This  belongs  to 
Samuel  Kistler."   Well,  there  were  so  many  Kistlers  there 
and  there  were  so  many  Samuels,  I  don't  know  whether 
they're  any  of  my  relatives  or  not.   But  I  kind  of  felt  at 
home.   I  felt  as  though  I'd  struck  gold  [laughter]  when  we 
hit  there  and  we  ran  into  this  Samuel  Kistler  and  that  I 
had  a  Bible  of  his.   It  was  a  very  beautiful  place  and 
quite  prosperous,  however,  because  they  had  another  house 
built  up  on  the  hill,  and  that  house  had  a  plaque  on  it 
that  said  it  was  built  in  1825,  I  think.   So  the  difference 
between  the  two  dates,  they  were  quite  prosperous 
apparently.   They  had  been  able  to  afford  a  better  house 
and  had  built  it  there.   They  had  a  nice  duck  pond  down 
below,  and  we  chased  the  ducks  around  and  tried  to  get  them 
to  come  and  eat,  but  they  wouldn't  have  anything  to  do  with 
this . 

There  was  a  girl  there  who  was--  What  was  her  name? 
Jenny  Griner.   She  was  hesitant  about  showing  us  through 
the  house,  because  the  people  were  away,  her  mother  and 
father  were  away.   But  we  talked  her  into  it,  and  she  took 
us  all  through  the  house.   Of  course,  it  wasn't  prepared 
for  us  or  anything,  and  she  was  afraid  her  mother  was  going 
to  be  quite  upset  about  it.   But  they  had  a  beautiful  place 
there.   Both  houses  were  built  of  stone.   They  were 

renovating  the  house  through  and  through  and  uncovering  a 
lot  of  the  old  wallpaper  and  things  like  that  to  get  down 
to  the  original  finish  in  the  house.   The  rooms  in  the 
house  were  small,  because  they  didn't  have  very  good 
heating  facilities  at  the  time  it  was  built,  and  it  was  in 
a  state  very  much  like  it  was  to  begin  with. 

My  family,  my  branch  of  the  family,  migrated  to 
Marion,  Ohio,   My  grandfather  was  born  there,  and  his  name 
was  John  Kistler.   I  haven't  much  idea  about  what  he  did 
between  the  time  that  he  was  born  and  when  he  ended  up  on 
the  Ohio  River.   That's  the  first  that  I  had  any  real 
contact  with  the  family.   He  had  a  sawmill  on  the  river, 
right  on  the  Indiana  side,  right  where  the  bridge  from 
Louisville  comes  across  the  river.   It's  up  on  a  high 
bank.   It  must  be  forty  feet  down  to  the  river  at  a 
straight  drop.   Don't  you  think  so,  Lelah?   But  my 
grandfather  was  very  successful  there.   He  was  on  the  city 
council  and  he  was  acting  mayor  for  quite  a  while.   He 
disappeared  from  the  political  scene  when  he  joined  the 
Prohibition  Party.   [laughter]   That  settled  him.   They 
didn't  vote  for  him  anymore. 

But  the  thing  that  drove  them  away  from  Indiana  was 
that  they  had  these  horrible  floods  on  the  river.   It  was 
amazing  to  me  that  a  river  could  rise  that  high,  because  it 
was  at  least  a  forty- foot  drop  down  to  the  water,  and  to 

have  washed  out  the  mill,  and  to  have  carried  the  sawlogs 
away.   They  just  had  a  grand  old  time,  my  father  [William 
A.  Kistler]  and  his  brother,  who  would  go  down  the  river  to 
pick  up  what  logs  they  could.   Pick  them  up  where  they  had 
stranded  along  the  bank  and  bring  them  back.   This  was  in 
1855.   His  credit  was  so  good  that  they  gave  him  a  million 
dollars'  worth  of  sawlogs  at  the  bank  to  start  him  up  in 
business  again.   It  had  practically  wiped  him  out.   Two 
years  later,  in  1888,  why,  they  had  another  flood  that  came 
down  and  washed  the  mill  away,  the  business  away,  most  of 
it.   My  grandfather  decided  to  sell  out  and  come  to 
California.   At  that  time  he  came  to  California  and  liked 
it  at  Escondido.   He  settled  down  there  and  bought  the 
hotel  and  ran  that  for  a  few  years.   It  was  there  that  my 
mother  [Mamie  Chambers  Kistler]  and  my  father  met. 

My  mother's  grandfather  was  a  riverboat  captain.   He 
ran  from  Ohio  down  to  New  Orleans.   The  last  trip  that  he 
left  on,  he  had  quite  a  bit  of  money  on  him.   He  got  into 
New  Orleans  and  disappeared.   They  never  found  any  trace  of 
him  at  all.   He  just  disappeared  altogether.   Left  my 
maternal  great-grandmother  [Mary  Richards  Chambers]  with  a 
boy  and  a  girl.   The  boy  is  my  maternal  grandfather,  my 
mother's  father.   She  was  quite  a  practical  woman.   She 
figured  she  could  take  care  of  one  child,  but  she  couldn't 
take  care  of  two  children.   So  she  sent  her--  She  took  her 

boy  up  to  the  Shakers  and  turned  him  over  to  the  Shakers, 
and  they  brought  him  up.   They  taught  him  a  trade.   He 
became  a  mechanical  engineer.   He  traveled  in  the  West, 
clear  out  to  Wyoming  and  Montana.   My  mother  had  quite  a 
few  songs  that  she  picked  up  from  my  grandfather,  and  she 
used  to  sing  them  to  me  when  I  was  a  kid,  these  old  songs 
that  they  sang  on  the  range,  you  know?   She  was  very  good 
at  it. 

My  mother  and  my  father  met  in  Escondido.   They  came 
up  to  Los  Angeles,  and  they  were  married  in  about  1894,  I 
guess.   My  father  worked  in  Escondido.   He  took  up  a 
printing  apprenticeship.   He  became  a  typesetter  at  the 
Escondido  Blade.   Then  he  moved  from  there  over  to 
Oceanside  to  the  Oceanside  Wave  for  a  while  and  finally 
migrated  to  Los  Angeles.   My  mother  came  to  Los  Angeles, 
too,  and  they  looked  each  other  up  and  they  got  married.   I 
think  it  was  in  1894  that  they  were  married.   He  worked  for 
a  man  by  the  name  of  Mcllheny  here,  and  he  was  quite  a 
valued  employee. 

My  father  was  a  man  of  all  parts.   He  was  interested 
in  everything.   He  played  several  musical  instruments,  and 
he  was  in  a  band  down  in  Escondido.   When  he  came  to  Los 
Angeles,  why,  he  joined  a  band  here.  Porter's  Band.   They 
used  to  play  in  the  rotunda  of  the  leading  hotel  in  Los 
Angeles  and  at  Westlake  Park  on  Sundays.   I  used  to  go  out 

to  hear  the  band.   He  could  play  almost  any  instrument.   He 
played  the  clarinet,  the  piano,  and  a  couple  of  horns.   He 
made  a  xylophone  out  of  an  old  bedstead  that  we  had.   It 
was  an  old  bedstead,  and  he  made  a  xylophone  and  learned  to 
play  it.   But  somehow  the  musical  didn't  come  down  through 
the  family. 

However,  I  was  much  taken  with  printing  at  an  early 
age.   I  think  that  I  was  about  ten  or  twelve  years  old  when 
he  set  me  up  on  a  stool  in  front  of  a  type  case  and  put  me 
to  setting  type.   So  I  learned  the  printing  business  that 
way.   And  I'm  a  self-educated  man.   That  is,  I  never  went 
to  college  or  anything  like  that.   But  I  was  intensely 
interested  in  printing.   My  father  was  one  of  the  leading 
printers  in  Los  Angeles.   He  had  a  penchant  for  moving 
around,  though.   His  first  office  was  at  First  [Street]  and 
South  Broadway.   Across  Broadway- -where  the  [Los  Angeles] 
Times  building  is  now--was  the  Los  Angeles  Chamber  of 
Commerce.   It  was  there  that  I  saw  the  only  president  I 
ever  saw  of  the  United  States.   It  was  Theodore 
Roosevelt.   He  rode  past  there,  and  we  were  up  in  the 
building  in  the  printing  shop  looking  down  on  the  street. 
He's  the  only  one  I've  ever  seen  in  person. 
RATNER:   Let  me  just  back  up  a  minute.   I  don't  want  to 
interrupt  your  train  of  thought,  but  what  year  were  you 

KISTLER:   I  was  born  in  1897. 

My  father  moved  around  an  awful  lot .   He  moved  from 
there  down  to--  He  was  progressive,  and  one  of  his  friends 
that  was  in  the  printing  business  got  into  financial 
troubles  and  sold  out  his  plant  to  him.   So  he  enlarged 
quite  early.   That  was  at  123  East  Second  Street,  I 
remember  quite  well.   Then  he  moved  from  there  up  onto  New 
High  Street  and  moved  across  the  street  at  New  High  Street 
to  the  old  People's  Store  building.   He  moved  in  one  of 
their  buildings.   The  People's  Store  became  the  May  Company 
eventually.   Then,  at  that  time,  while  he  was  there,  he 
acquired  the  Out  West  magazine,  and  for  several  years  he 
published  it.   George  Horton  James  was  an  editor  at  one 
time.   Another  editor  was  George  Vail  Steep.   At  that  time, 
he  had  a  bindery- - 

RATNER:   What  year  is  this  that  you're  talking  about  that 
he  was  at  that  location? 
KISTLER:   Well,  that  is  around  1910. 

RATNER:   Nineteen  ten.   So  you're  still  a  youngster  at  that 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  was.   Then  he  moved  from  there  to  Los 
Angeles  Street,  Sixth  [Street]  and  Los  Angeles  Street,  in 
the  Chapman  Building.   Then  he  moved  from  the  Chapman 
Building  down  to  East  Fourth  Street.   Then  he  moved  across 
the  street  at  East  Fourth  Street.   And  then  he  moved  from 


there  to  West  Eleventh  Street.   By  that  time,  the  family 
was  pretty  well  established.   I  had  two  brothers  and  a 
sister,  and  our  time  was  spent  in  having  all  the  fun  that 
we  could  and  going  to  school,  which  was  kind  of  a  hard 
task,  with  all  kids.   I  went  to  Twenty-fourth  Street 
[Elementary]  School  to  M.  Amelia  Foshay,  who  taught--  Her 
favorite  subjects  were  arm-movement  writing  and  "Walk  on 
the  balls  of  your  feet,  children."   [laughter]   She  would 
go  prancing  down,  tiptoeing  down,  the  halls.   I  can  see  her 

My  father  built  a  home  at  1629  Van  Ness  Avenue.   In 
about  1905,  he  started  it.   That  was  kind  of  an  idyllic 
time,  because  in  order  to  save  money,  why,  they  put  up  what 
they  called  a  "shed"  first.   It  was  just  a  room,  one  room, 
with  a  slant  roof.   My  father  and  my  mother  and  my  sister 
and  I  lived  in  that  shed  for  almost  a  year's  time  while 
they  were  building  a  house.   It  was  a  big  eight-room  house, 
a  rather  large  place  for  that  time.   But  the  neighborhood 
was  completely  isolated.   It  was  clear  out  at  the  edge  of 
town.   Between  what  is  now  Arlington  [Street]  and  the 
ocean,  which  was  about  ten  or  twelve  miles  away,  there 
wasn't  a  house  anyplace. 
RATNER:   Really? 

KISTLER:   Venice  was  developed  along  in  the  early  part  of 
the  century.   They  dug  canals  there  and  they  had  gondolas 

and  made  it  as  much  like  Venice  [Italy]  as  they  possibly 
could.   They  really  did  a  remarkable  job  on  it,  because  I 
went  to  Venice  in  Italy  later,  and  I  found  that  they  had 
been  quite  faithful  in  reproducing  the  architecture  and 
everything.   It  was  the  same  feeling. 

My  schooling  after  Twenty-fourth  Street  School  was  at 
the  Arlington  Heights  [Elementary]  School.   They  had  no 
eighth  grade  there.   It  just  went  up  to  the  seventh  grade 
in  grammar  school.   It  was  along  about  the  time  that  they 
were  instituting  the  intermediate  schools.   We  had  to  go 
way  down  to  Berendo  [Street]  to  school,  to  the  [Berendo] 
Intermediate  School.   It  was  horribly  organized.   They  say 
that  they  have  trouble  in  school  today,  and,  gee,  you 
should  have  seen  the  difficulties  that  we  got  into.   The 
kids  were  throwing  spitballs  at  the  board.   I  remember 
particularly  I  had  a  friend  by  the  name  of  Carl  Haverlin, 
who's  a  life  friend.   He  was  very  German.   His  name  was 
Karl  Bismarck  Heberlein.   [laughter]   So  you  know  how 
German  he  was.   He  wanted  to  learn  German,  and  so  I  kind  of 
followed  along  with  it,  too.   There  was  a  poor  German 
immigrant  who  had  come  over  here,  and  he  undertook  to  teach 
German.   Really,  what  happened  to  that  poor  guy  was  really 
horrible.   His  name  was  Sabesti,  I  remember.   The  place  was 
just  a  riot.   I  mean,  from  the  time  that  we  went  into  the 
classroom  until  the  time  that  we  got  out.   The  whole  school 


was  that  way,  just  very  much  upset.   The  kids  were  all  in 
rebellion  and  everything. 

So  I  went  over  to  Hollywood  High  School.   I  had  to 
register  as  being  in  Hollywood,  so  I  stayed  at  my 
grandparents'  house.   On  weekends,  I'd  go  around  and  go 
home  and  see  my  folks  again.   I  stayed  there  for  one 
term.   By  that  time,  I  was  footloose  and  fancy-free,  and  I 
could  get  into  high  school.   I  thought  I'd  completed  enough 
work  in  Hollywood  High  School  that  I  was  an  accredited  high 
school  student.   I  never  did  graduate  [laughter]  from 
grammar  school ! 

I  went  to  Manual  Arts  High  School .   And  there  were  all 
the  Downs  boys  [relatives  of  World  War  I  pilot  Downs]  there 
and  Jimmy  [James]  Doolittle,  the  aviator,  and  Lawrence 
Tibbets  and  Marian  Morgan,  the  dancer.   At  one  time,  I 
think  that  half  of  the  judges  in  Los  Angeles  were  from 
Manual  Arts  High  School.   It  was  about  the  time  that  they 
were  changing  over  from  rugby  to  football.   When  I  went 
there  at  first,  the  first  term  or  two,  why,  they  were  all 
playing  rugby.   What  should  I  tell  you  next?   [laughter] 
RATNER:   What  happened  after  you  graduated  from  high 
school?   What  year  did  you  graduate  from  high  school? 
KISTLER:   Nineteen  sixteen.   I  went  over  to  Kingman, 
Arizona.   My  father  dabbled  in  everything.   He  went  up  to 
Idaho  and  panned  for  gold,  and  he  invested  in  a  mine  in 


Kingman,  Arizona,  or  outside  of  Kingman,  Arizona.   So  he 
got  me  a  job  on  the  mine  there,  and  I  did  a  little 
mining.   The  First  World  War  broke  out  there.   I  came  back 
to  Los  Angeles  and  got  a  job  at  the  Hammond  Lumber 
Company.   I  was  only  there  for  a  month  or  two,  and  I  joined 
the  143d  Field  Artillery,   They  trained  out  in  Arcadia,  out 
at  the  racetrack  there.   Then  they  sent  us  down  to  Camp 
Kearny.   We  became  the  first--  Wait  a  minute.   We  became 
the  143d  Field  Artillery,  and  we  went  down  to  Camp  Battery 
F.   We  trained  there  for  a  year  on  three-inch  guns,  the  old 
Spanish-American  three-inch  guns.   They  wanted  replacements 
in  Europe,  and  I  went  overseas,  the  First  Division 
headquarters.   No,  it  was  Seventh  Field  Artillery,  First 
Division  headquarters.   I  was  at  the  Battle  of  Soissons  and 
Saint-Mihiel  and  the  Argonne  drive.   I  got  severely 
scratched,  and  they  put  me  back  in  the  hospital  just  before 
the  war  ended. 

So  by  the  time  the  war  ended,  I  was  down  in 
Bordeaux.   They  evacuated  everybody  there,  no  matter  how 
small  the  wound  was.   I  wasn't  wounded  seriously,  but  I  was 
in  the  hospital  for  over  a  month,  I  guess.   So  I  got  a 
chance  to  come  home,  and  I  came  home  on  a  cruiser,  which 
was  quite  an  experience.   It  was  the  old  Seattle.   We  had 
an  eighty-mile  gale  on  the  way  back.   It  was  really,  really 
rough.   The  water  was  just  coming  over  the  fo'c'sle  there 


just  like  nothing  at  all.   Most  of  the  boys  were  sick,  but 

I  didn't  get  sick.   I  had  a  good  time.   I  enjoyed  that. 

But  it  was  a  nice  sensation  to  get  back  to  the  good  old 

United  States  after--  [laughter] 

RATNER:   I  bet. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  after  France. 


DECEMBER  13,  1988 

RATNER:   Before  we  flipped  the  tape,  you  were  talking  about 

your  trip  home,  and  you  were  glad  to  be  back  in  the  United 


KISTLER:   Yes.   So  I  came  back  into  the  United  States  and 

went  to  work  with  my  father.   Business  was  pretty  good 

right  at  the  start.   We  worked  together  for  about,  oh,  I 

can't  tell  you  exactly  how  many  years.   We  moved  up  onto 

West  Eleventh  Street  and  bought  a  lot  of  new  equipment  and 

everything,  and  we  were  doing  very  well.   I  did  well  with 

the  advertising  people  and  brought  in  quite  a  nice  lot  of 


RATNER:   What  do  you  mean  by  that?   You  went  out  and 

solicited  business  from--? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   I  learned  to  run  our  typesetting  machine, 

which  was  a  Monotype.   Then  I  finally  got  to  calling  on  the 

customers.   We  called  on  advertising  agencies  and  people 

like  that.   My  father,  who  always  had  his  eye  out  for 

something  new--  He  got  into  all  kinds  of  things.   At  that 

time,  we  had  a  letterpress  plant. 

RATNER:   So  what  years  are  you  talking?   Right  after  the 

war,  right  now,  you're  talking  about? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  yes.   We  had  five  presses,  and  he  decided  to 

go  into  the  lithography  business,  because  at  that  time, 


photography  was  commencing  to  be  applied  to  the 
lithographic  process.   It  had  been  done  almost  all  by  hand 
up  to  this  time,  and  they  had  made  some  advances  on  it.   So 
my  father  bought  a  lithograph  press.   It  was  a  big  one.   It 
was  a  35"  X  45"  inches  press.   Most  of  these  printers  now 
just  have  little  equipment.   I  mean,  the  job  printers.   We 
were  in  job  printing.   So  he  bought  this  press.   I  went 
around  trying  to  convert  people  to  using  it  for  the  kind  of 
printing  that  was  produced  in  letterpress  printing, 
changing  over  the  method.   I  was  quite  successful  with 
it.   I  brought  in  quite  a  bit  of  business  with  that.   But 
it  was  awfully  hard  for  us  to  get  any  information  on  the 
process.   People  didn't  want  to  give  up  their  trade  secrets 
and  things  like  that.   They  had  ways  of  working  that  they 
thought  were  better  than  anybody  else,  and  it  was  secret, 
even  so  they  wouldn't  put  it  out. 

RATNER:   So  who  was  using  the  equipment  in  your  father's 
shop?   He  had  hired  people  who  were  familiar  with  the 
KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   And  even  they  didn't  want  to  tell  you  how  they  did 

KISTLER:   Well,  they  were  reticent  too,  yes,  even  though 
they  worked  with  it.   So  I  got  the  books  and  went  back  to 
[Alois]  Senefelder.   At  the  time  that  we  got  into  it,  we 


were  doing  offset  work.   It  printed  from  a  zinc  plate  to  a 
rubber  blanket  and  then  transferred  from  the  rubber  blanket 
to  the  paper.   So  there  was  an  awful  lot  to  understand 
there.   But  I  decided  to  go  back  to  the  stone  and  commence 
to  play  around  with  that.   I  did  worm  some  information  out 
of  some  of  the  employees,  and  I  got  some  books  on 
lithography.   There  had  been  some.   Most  of  them  had  a  lot 
of  misinformation  in  them,  just  to  throw  you  off. 
[laughter]   So  then  I  finally  got  to  the  point  where  I  was 
getting  the  artist  to  draw  on  zinc  plates,  and  in  my  spare 
time  I'd  come  back  and  I  would  pull  up  some  prints  and  I'd 
give  them  [the  artists]  half  of  them. 
RATNER:   At  your  dad's  place? 

KISTLER:   At  my  dad's  place.   He  had  the  transfer  equipment 
there  and  a  transfer  press,  Fuchs  and  Lang  presses. 
RATNER:   Was  that  state-of-the-art  at  the  time,  the  Fuchs 
and  Lang? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  think  they  were  the  best.   They  were  the 
best  transfer  presses.   At  that  time  they  were  using  them, 
more  or  less,  to  make  plates  by  pulling  up  stick-ups  and 
then  putting  them  up  and  putting  multiple  images  on  another 
zinc  plate  by  the  transfer  method.   So  that  that  did  give 
me--  I  watched  the  men  too,  and  I  knew  what  they  were 
doing.   Finally,  I  commenced  to  get  interested  in  stone.   I 
said,  "Yeah,  I'd  like  to  try  some  stone  work."   So  I  got 


quite  a  number  of  stones.   Some  of  them  were  big,  and  some 
of  them  were  little.   I  had  a  couple  of  stones  that  size 
there . 

Amongst  my  customers  I  had  been  doing  letterpress  work 
for  and  advertising  was  Merle  Armitage,  who  was  an 
impresario  and  manager  of  the  Los  Angeles  Grand  Opera 
Company  at  that  time.   My  friend  Carl  Haverlin  was  quite  a 
circulator  around  town.   He  got  acquainted  with  Merle  and 
brought  him  in  to  me.   Merle  liked  the  work  that  I  was 
doing,  and  so  he  turned  over  the  work  at  the  [Los  Angeles] 
Philharmonic  [Orchestra] . 
RATNER:   The  letterpress  work? 

KISTLER:   Letterpress  work,  yes.   That  was  about  the  time 
that  we  put  in  the  lithograph  press,  the  big  lithograph 

RATNER:   Which  I  think  was  about  1928,  I  read  in  some  of 
your  correspondence. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  that's  right.   It  was  about  1928.   So  then  I 
commenced  to  accumulate  these  stones  and  rollers  and 
materials  and  things,  and-- 

RATNER:   And  were  they  easy  to  come  by  at  that  time? 
KISTLER:   Paper  was  hard  to  find.   But  you  could  get  all 
the  transfer  presses  that  you  wanted,  because  the  printers 
were  commencing  to  change  over  from  letterpress  printing  to 
offset  work.   Believe  me,  now  printing  has  gone  beyond  the 


point  where  I  can  understand  it.   Just  the  new  way  of 
working  and  everything,  I  wouldn't  know  how  to  handle  it  in 
the  printing  plant  today,  and  that's  just  a  few  years  back. 
RATNER:   It  changes  so  quickly,  I  guess. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   It's  all  changed  around.   It's  all  pasteup 
and  everything .   They  don ' t  even  have  type  anymore . 

Well,  anyway,  I  was  working  in  the  plant  doing 
something  one  day,  and  Merle  walked  in  with  a  kind  of  a 
small,  unassuming-looking  sort  of  man.   He  said,  "This  is 
Jean  Chariot."   And  he  says,  "Chariot,  this  is  Lynton 
Kistler.   He's  the  best  stone  lithographer  in  the 
country."   [laughter]   That  put  me  on  the  spot.   I  knew 
what  to  do,  but  I  had  never  done  it.   That  was  the  whole 
trouble.   Here  was  a  good  customer  who  had  made  an 
exaggerated  statement  about  me,  and  I  was  embarrassed. 
RATNER:   Did  he  know  you'd  never  printed  from  stone? 
KISTLER:   Sure  he  did.   But  he  went  headlong  into  things - 
He  was  the  kind  of  man  that  went  ahead  whether  it  looked 
like  it  was  going  to  work  or  not  because  he  was  a 
promoter.   He  usually  had  several  things  in  the  fire.   If 
two  of  them  failed,  why,  the  third  one  would  succeed  so 
well  that  he'd  come  out  smelling  like  a  rose.   [laughter] 
So  that's  the  way  that  he  worked. 

Well,  anyway,  there's  the  print  that  I  pulled.   I  went 
ahead  and  worked  it  out  with  the  help  of  some  of  the  men 


that  I  had  there.   Thomas  Barr  helped  me  out  in  the 
printing  of  that  and  kind  of  held  my  hand  as  I  went  through 
it.   That  was  the  first  lithograph  that  I  had  pulled.   Then 
I  got  so  enthused  about  it  that  I  wanted  to  do  nothing  but 
stone  printing,  which  was  kind  of  crazy,  I  guess.   But  the 
Depression  came  along,  and  my  father  was  getting  old  and  he 
was  kind  of  depressed  and  everything.   He  decided  to  sell 
the  plant,  so  I  went  to  work  for  another  printer  and  only 
stayed  there  about  a  year. 
RATNER:   What  year  was  this? 

KISTLER:   Well,  it  was  along  in  the  early  thirties.   So  I 
decided  to  buy  a  transfer  press,  and  I  sent  to  New  York  for 
a  ton  of  stone.   That  was  guite  a  bit  of  stone  to  order  at 
one  time.   I  opened  up  my  place  in  the  gallery  of  [Earl] 
Stendahl.   I  worked  there.   And  I  did  get  guite  a--  I 
worked  up  quite  a  business  there.   But  Christmas  came 
along,  and  it  was  in  his  candy  factory  that  I  had  my 
lithograph  equipment,  so  I  had  to  shut  down  during  the 
season.   So  I  decided  to  move  out.   My  wife  at  that  time 
[Naomi  Tucker  Kistler]  had  a  sister  in  the  East,  in 
Boston.   She  [the  sister]  was  going  to  have  a  baby,  and  she 
had  been  East  once  and  had  stayed  about  three  months .   So  I 
told  her  I'd  go  back  with  her.   I  went  back  to  New  York, 
where  I  stayed  for  about  four  years.   I  worked  in  a 
printing  plant  there,  and  I  also  went  to  work  for  my 


brother-in-law  in  his  factory.   We  were  making  some 
fixtures  for  engines.   They  were  water  injectors,  and  I 
worked  on  those  and  I  worked  there  for  a  while.   Then-- 
RATNER:   What  year  is  this  that  you're  talking  about? 
KISTLER:   Well,  this  is--  The  war  broke  out  while  I  was  in 
the  East.   That  was  in  1941.   So  I  was  there  from  '41  to 
about  '45.   I  came  home  in  '45.   By  that  time,  I  had  built 
a  house.   Well,  before  I  left  and  while  I  was  working  at  my 
father's  place,  when  I  built  a  house  on  Patricia  Avenue. 
RATNER:   And  that's  where  you  first  had  your  press?   I  read 
that  you  had  it  in  your  garage  at  first. 

KISTLER:   Well,  yes.   I  moved  my--  This  all  seems  to  be 
kind  of  disjointed  and  not  very  well  organized.   [laughter] 
RATNER:   It's  fine.   We'll  back  up  a  little  and  pick  up 
some  of  that,  because  I  did  want  to  ask  you  a  little  about 
that  earlier  period. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Well,  I  decided  that  I  would,  when  I  came 
back--  No,  wait  a  minute.   While  I  was  working  at  my 
father's  plant,  I  sent  out  and  got  these  stones.   I  also 
got  a  lithograph  transfer  press  of  my  own  to  print  stones 
on.   I  brought  it  down  and  put  it  in  a  two-car  garage.   I 
put  it  on  one  side  of  a  two-car  garage.   I  did  my  printing 
there.   The  artists  used  to  come  out  to  my  place  there  and 
they  would  fill  up  the  streets,  and  the  neighbors  got 
annoyed  with  it,  that  there  was  so  much  activity  and 


everything.   But  they  couldn't  do  anything  about  it, 

because  all  I  was  doing  was  just  doing  some--  It  was 

recreational  with  me.   They  would  come  and  they  would  bring 

these  stones,  and  I'd  print  them. 

RATNER:   I  was  just  going  to  ask  you,  how  did  you  meet  all 

these  artists?   Was  it  word  of  mouth  that  they  found  out 

about  you,  or--? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   It  was  at  that  time.   So  then  when  my 

father  sold  his  business  and  my  wife  had  gone  East  to 

deliver  her  baby,  why,  I  said,  "I'm  not  going  to  put  up 

with  this  anymore."   So  I  took  her  back  there,  and  we  were 

back  there  for  four  years. 

RATNER:   Could  I  just  back  up  one  minute?   I'm  sorry  to 

interrupt  you.   Why  did  you  decide  to  rent  the  space  in  the 

Stendahl  factory?   Because  you  were  getting  so  much 

business  in  your  garage?   Is  that  why  you  decided  to  move 

your  press  up  there? 

KISTLER:   Well,  by  that  time--  Yes.   I  felt  as  though  I  had 

to  have  the  location.   I  put  it  up  there  because  I  thought 

there  would  be  a  lot  of  artists  [who  would]  come.   And  I 

did  get  quite  a  few. 

RATNER:   How  did  you  choose  that  location? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  knew  Stendahl.   I'd  met  him.   Somebody 

introduced  him  to  me.   I  don't  recall  just  how  I  did  meet 

him,  but  he  was  known  in  the  trade.   I  had  commenced  to 


circulate  around  to  try  to  get  the  art  dealers  to  take  on 
the  lithographs.   You  know,  I  thought  that  it  would  get 
people  started  collecting  art,  and  that  way  they  would  get 
to  be  art  collectors  and  maybe  buy  things  that  were 
important.   Well,  the  art  dealers,  when  I  got  the  artists 
in  there,  they  got  excited  about  the  artists  that  I  brought 
in  and  wanted  to  sell  their  work  instead  of  what  I  had  to 
sell.   [laughter]   Because  I  was  really  doing  it  too 
cheap.   I  hadn't  raised  it  to  the  proper  appreciation  of 
the  public. 

RATNER:   How  much  interest  was  there  in  lithography  amongst 
the  art  schools  at  that  time  in  the  early  thirties,  like 
Otis  [Art  Institute]  and  Chouinard  [Art  Institute]? 
KISTLER:   Well,  there  was  only  what  I  had  started  off 
there.   They  knew  about  lithography.   Of  course,  Millard's 
work--  Millard  [Sheets]  had  been  working  in  New  York  for 
quite  a  while,  and  the  artists  are  pretty  knowledgeable 
people.   They  found  out  about  it,  but  they  didn't  have  any 
contact  with  it.   So  that  the  equipment  that  I  brought  here 
and  the  way  that  I  started  out,  it  was  the  first  chance 
that  they'd  had  here  to  do  anything  about  it.   Then  USC 
[University  of  Southern  California]  put  in  a  lithographic 
department,  and  UCLA  got  interested  in  it.   Well,  that's 
further  down  the  line,  though. 
RATNER:   So  were  there  any  galleries  at  all  that  were 


showing  prints  at  that  time,  in  the  thirties,  in  Los 


KISTLER:   Yes,  there  were.   The  Los  Angeles  County  Museum 

[of  History,  Science,  and  Art] ,  before  they  moved  out  on 

Wilshire  Boulevard,  was  showing  prints  and  paintings. 

About  half  the  time,  I  had  more  than  half  the  prints  that 

were  being  shown  out  there. 

RATNER:   They  were  artists  that  you  had  printed? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  artists  that  I  had  printed.   But  I  was  doing 

it  for  nothing.   I  mean,  it  was  just  a  recreation  with  me 

to  start  out.   But  I  finally  got  interested  in  it  and  made 

my  first  effort  at  Stendahl's.   When  that  didn't  work  out, 

why,  I  went  back  East  and  thought  it  over  for  about  four 

years  and  came  back  here.   I  sold  the  house  that  I  had 

built  on  Patricia  Avenue  and  bought  a  place  at  the  corner, 

an  old  house,  a  two-story  flat.   That  is,  an  upper  and  a 

lower  apartment.   So  I  put  my  considerable  printing 

equipment  that  I  had  accumulated  by  that  time  downstairs, 

and  we  lived  upstairs.   That's  where  the  UCLA  people  came 

to  me.   I  had  been  printing  for  [Stanton]  Macdonald-Wright 


RATNER:   How  did  you  meet  him? 

KISTLER:   I  met  him  at  the  Art  Students  League  in  Los 

Angeles.   I  went  up  there  to--  I  don't  know  whether  I  was 

trying  to  take  up  drawing  or  whether  there  was  something 


else  I  was  doing.   Something  up  there  anyway.   It  was  up  at 
the  Art  Students  League.   And  I  told  Macdonald-Wright  about 
it,  and  he  got  interested  in  it.   We  made,  oh,  I  guess  a 
dozen  lithographs.   The  only  ones  that  he  made  I  printed 
for  him.   He  was  an  instructor  at  UCLA.   So  he  got  so 
interested  in  it  that  he  recommended  that  they  come  down 
and  see  me  and  learn  about  lithography.   They  were 
interested  in  it.   They'd  heard  of  it,  and  most  of  them 
just  by  hearsay.   The  first  time  they  saw  a  lithograph 
printed  or  saw  a  lithograph  was  in  my  shop.   So  I  printed 
for  them. 

I  had  ridiculously  low  prices  to  try  to  get  the  place 
going  and  get  the  volume  of  business  through  the  place. 
And  I  was  getting  along  okay.   But  I  got  enamored  of  the 
money  that  there  was  in  the  printing  business.   That  is, 
the  commercial  business.   So  I  went  into  that.   I  sold  my 
house  at  Carondelet  [Street] .   I  was  there  about  five 
years.   There  was  a  little  church  across  the  street  from 
our  place.   Property  was  going  up  around  there,  and  they 
wanted  the  corner  that  I  had.   So  they  came  over  one  day 
and  said  Mother  Trust  wanted  to  see  me.   She  was  the  head 
of  the  thing.   She  asked  me  how  much  I  wanted  for  the 
place,  and  I  told  her.   She  reached  down  in  her  sock  and 
she  gave  me  $30,000. 
RATNER:   Out  of  her  sock? 


KISTLER:   Yes.   [laughter]   Yes,  she  was  doing  all  right 
with  her--  [laughter]  And  I  just  said,  "No,  no,  you  keep  it 
here.   I  want  a  contract  on  this."   So  I  went  over  and 
wrote  up  a  contract  and  sold  the  place  to  her  myself  and 
didn't  have  to  pay  a  commission  to  the  real  estate 
people.   It  was  lucky  for  me,  though.   Because  when  I'd 
moved  in,  I'd  had  a  termite  inspection.   When  I  sold  it,  I 
got  the  same  termite  people  to  come  and  go  over  the  place, 
and  they  gave  it  a  clean  bill.   So  they  had  a  lot  of 
changes  that  they  wanted  to  make  on  the  place,  and  they 
started  to  tear  the  place  apart.   And  gosh,  the  place  was 
about  ready  to  fall  down.   Of  course,  I  was  in  the  clear, 
because  there  was  insurance  on  it.   I  had  insurance  on  the 
termite  through  this  termite  company,  and  they  had  to  put 
up  with  straightening  it  all  out.   So  I  felt  as  though  I 
was  pretty  lucky  in  getting  out  of  that  deal.   They  got  it 
taken  care  of  by  the  termite  people,  who  had  insured  their 
work.   I  don't  know  what  was  the  matter  with  them.   They 
certainly  were  taking  chances.   Now,  where  were  we? 
RATNER:   Well,  I  wanted  to  back  up  a  little.   I  know  that 
that  happened  later,  that  you  sold  that  property.   But  when 
you  came  back  in  1945,  back  to  Los  Angeles,  and  you  bought 
that  place  at  Third  [Street]  and  Carondelet  [Street] ,  how 
much  art  activity  was  there  in  Los  Angeles  at  that  time, 
right  after  the  war? 


KISTLER:   There  was  quite  a  bit.   Well,  of  course,  the 
Works  Progress  [Administration]  was  going  on.   They  were 
teaching  lithography  over  at  the  headquarters  of  the  Works 
Progress  place.   What's  his  name?   The  man  who  made  that 
picture  there.   Macdonald-Wright  more  or  less  had  charge 
over  there.   So  when  they  cut  down  the  Works  Progress 
place,  why,  that  left  me  with  considerably  more  business. 
RATNER:   When  that  program  wrapped  up,  you  had  more 

KISTLER:   Yes.   I  didn't  participate  in  that,  because  I  was 
in  business  myself.   So  I  did  some  work  for  them  on  the 
offset  press  before.   I  printed  a  large  poster,  35"  X  45", 
for  Millard  Sheets,  which  was  quite  a  task,  for  the  Works 
Progress  people.   But  that  was  about  all. 

RATNER:   How  did  you  meet  Millard  Sheets?   You  worked  with 
him  for  a  long  time,  I  know,  for  a  number  of  years. 
KISTLER:   I  met  him  through  Merle  Armitage.   Merle.   I 
printed  fifty  books  for  Merle  while  I  was  at  my  father's 
place.   I  met  him  through  Merle.   I  printed  two  books  for 
Millard,  one  while  at  my  father's  plant  and  one  at  my  own 

RATNER:   So  Merle  Armitage  seems  to  have  known  a  lot  of 
people  and  introduced  you  to  a  number  of  people  also. 
KISTLER:   Oh,  yes.   I  met  Edward  Weston.   I  did  a  book  for 
Edward  Weston.   And  Warren  Newcombe  and  his  wife,  Beatrice 


Wood.   Do  you  know  her? 
RATNER:   I  know  her  work. 
KISTLER:   Yes.   She's  a  screwy  one. 
RATNER:   [laughter]   So  I  hear. 

KISTLER:   She's  as  smart  as  she  can  be,  but  she  has  a 
screwy  approach  to  her  artwork.   I  enjoyed  working  with 
her.   And  he  brought  quite  a  number  of  people  to  my 
place.   I  did  two  books  for  Edward  Weston.   I  did  the 
first  Edward  Weston  book  [The  Art  of  Edward  Weston]  at  my 
father's  plant.   But  the  best  thing  I  ever  did  was  a  book 
of  thirty-two  lithographs  in  full  color,  from  four  to 
eight  colors  in  them.   It  was  a  book  that  was  about  8  ^J^    X 
11"  in  size.   There  were  thirty- two  lithographs  on  one 
great  big  sheet.   And  those  all  had  to  be  registered  as  to 
color  and  position  on  the  sheet.   The  colors  had  to  be 
printed  exactly  over  the  colors  before.   On  top  of  that, 
we  didn't  have  a  plant  that  was  air-conditioned.   We  went 
to  all  kinds  of  tricks  to  keep  the  paper  from  stretching, 
you  know?   We  put  it  through  the  press  eight  times  with 
nothing  on  it,  just  the  pressure  on  the  paper  to  spread  it 
out,  get  all  of  the  stretch  out  of  it  that  we  could.   Then 
it  would  be  liable  to  shrink  if  the  weather  changed.   When 
we'd  get  one  of  those  forms  on  them--  We  had  four  forms, 
and  they  had  eight  on  each  form,  eight  pictures.   All 
those  pictures  had  to  fit,  and  they  all  had  to  be  in  the 


same  position. 

RATNER:   Was  this  one  of  the  books  for  Jean  Chariot? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  it  was.   Jean  Chariot.   It  was  an  unusual 

book  all  the  way  through.   The  plates  were  drawn  by  hand  on 

zinc,  and  the  printing  was  done  directly  from  those 

plates.   We  put  those  plates  on  the  press  and  printed  them 

from  his  work.   It's  the  way  that  lithography  works. 

RATNER:   Was  that  one  of  the  later  projects  that  you--?  I 

know  that  you  worked  with  him  for  so  many  years,  and  we're 

going  to  spend  probably  one  whole  session  just  talking 

about  your  relationship  with  him.   But  since  you  brought 

that  up,  was  this  one  of  the  later  projects  you  did  with 


KISTLER:   No,  that  was  one  of  the  earliest. 

RATNER:   The  Picture  Book,  the  first  Picture  Book? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   I've  got  one  back  there. 

RATNER:   Okay.   I'd  like  to  see  it.   But  we  could  talk 

about  that  a  little  bit  more  in  depth.   I  thought  maybe 

that  we  would  wrap  it  up  here  for  today,  and  then  next  time 

we  could  pick  up  some  of  the  things  from  the  thirties  and  a 

little  bit  more  about  the  forties,  unless  you  had  anything 

else  you  wanted  to  add  today. 

KISTLER:   I  don't  know  of  anything.   We'll  let  it  stand 


RATNER:   Okay.   Then  we'll  talk  about  the  Picture  Book 


really  in  depth  another  time.   Because  I  know  that  was  a 
monumental  project  and  was  very  well  received. 
KISTLER:   Yes,  it  was. 


JANUARY  3,  1989 

RATNER:   During  our  last  meeting  we  talked  about,  among 
other  things,  your  early  involvement  with  lithography.   I 
wanted  to  begin  today  by  discussing  a  little  bit  more  in 
depth  those  early  years.   We  had  talked  about  your  father 
[William  A.  Kistler]  quite  a  bit.   You  mentioned  that  in 
1910,  while  you  were  still  in  school,  he  purchased  the  Out 
West  magazine.   I  wondered  if  you  could  tell  me  a  little 
more  about  that  magazine. 

KISTLER:   It  was  a  magazine  that  had  been  running.   It 
started  out  as  the  Land  of  Sunshine  originally.   It  got 
into  financial  difficulties,  and  my  father  bought  it  and 
published  it  for  five  or  six  years,  I  believe,  and  then  he 
sold  it.   It  was  a  magazine  that  recorded  much  of  the  early 
history  of  California.   I  had  a  complete  file  of  the 
magazine,  which  I  turned  over  to  my  younger  brother  [Rodney 
J.  Kistler],  and  he  gave  it  to  one  of  his  daughters.   So 
there  is  a  complete  file  of  Out  West  magazine  still  in  the 
family.   They  live  in  Seattle  at  the  present  time,  and  they 
have  taken  the  file  up  there.   This  granddaughter  of  mine-- 
Not  my  granddaughter,  but--  Let's  see,  it's  my  brother's 
daughter.   She  has  surveyed  the  whole  magazine  and  done 
quite  a  bit  of  work  on  it.   She  went  to  University  High 
School.   It  was  a  special  high  school  that  she  went  to. 


She  was  a  very  brilliant  girl.   She  did  a  complete  survey 

of  the  whole  magazine,  the  whole  file.   I  think  that  that 

magazine  ran  for  some,  oh,  about  twenty  or  twenty- five 


RATNER:   Why  did  your  father  sell  it,  finally? 

KISTLER:   Well,  he  had  more  than  he  could  carry,  and  it  was 

an  expensive  thing  to  promote.   He  really  didn't  have  the 

money  to  put  into  it,  so  he  sold  it  to  another  person,  who 

published  it  for  a  while,  and  I  don't  know  who  they  were. 

But  it  is  a  very  fine  file  of  early  California  history,  the 

history  of  California  from  around  the  fifties,  I  think,  up 

to  maybe  1925  or  '26.   Jack  London  and  a  lot  of  those  early 

writers  had  their  stories  and  articles  in  them.   It's  a 

file  of  a  lot  of  California  history  and  California  culture 

and  writing. 

RATNER:   When  we  were  going  over  the  names  a  few  minutes 

ago  from  our  last  session,  you  were  talking  a  little  bit 

about  the  two  editors. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   How  did  your  father  find  them? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  really  don't  know.   The  magazine  was  well 

known  at  the  time.   There  were  several  people  that  tried  to 

associate  themselves  with  it.   George  Horton  James  was  a 

well-known  author  around  the  turn  of  the  century.   My 

father  got  ahold  of  him.   I  don't  know  exactly  what  basis 


he  worked  on.   I  know  that  he  was  paid  for  being  editor  of 
the  magazine.   He  was  a  very  well  known  figure.   He  was 
associated  with  the  Southwest  Museum.   He  did  a  lot  of 
research,  archaeological  and  literary  research,  and  was 
well  acquainted  with  the  literary  people  around  the  turn  of 
the  century. 

George  Vail  Steep  came  to  him  after  George  Horton 
James  quit  the  editorship.   George  Horton  James  was  editor 
for  maybe  five  or  six  years  or  something  of  that  sort.   The 
magazine  wasn't  paying,  and  my  father  had  to  get  rid  of 
it.   It  was  a  financial  burden  to  him.   But  he  got  George 
Vail  Steep,  who  was  a  brilliant  man  and,  as  I  told  you,  who 
was  an  alcoholic.   He  did  his  best  to  overcome  it,  but--  Do 
you  want  this  on  the  tape  or  not? 
RATNER:   Yeah,  that's  fine. 

KISTLER:   I  don't  know  whether  I'm  doing  him  any  good  or 
not.   But  his  bad  habit  was  certainly  not  a  detriment  to 
his  reputation  as  a  human  being.   He  had  traveled  rather 
broadly  and  was  a  brilliant  writer.   In  this  present  day, 
he  would  be  on  television,  I'm  sure,  because  he  had  a  fund 
of  experience  and  a  fund  of  information  that  was  unusual. 
He  was  a  very  competent  man  himself.   He  was  well 
educated.   It's  a  shame  that  he  didn't  accomplish  more  in 
his  life.   But  he  came  to  my  father.   I  don't  know  just  how 
my  father  got  ahold  of  these  various  people,  but  the 


magazine  was  well  known  and  a  number  of  people  tried  to 
associate  themselves  with  the  magazine.   It  probably  would 
have  been  beneficial  to  him,  but  my  father  couldn't  afford 
to  pay  their  demands. 

RATNER:   Okay.   I  also  wanted  to  know  a  little  bit  more 
about  your  schooling.   When  we  were  talking  about  it  last 
time,  you  mentioned  that  you  had  attended  Hollywood  High 
[School]  for  one  term,  which  gave  you  enough  credits  to 
enter  Manual  Arts  High  School.   I  wasn't  really  clear  on 
what  you  meant  by  that . 

KISTLER:   Well,  when  I  was  in  grammar  school  I  first  went 
to  Fremont  Street  Elementary  School .   Then  we  moved  out  to 
the  west  side  of  the  city.   I  went  over  to  Twenty- fourth 
Street  [Elementary]  School  for  three  or  four  years.   By  the 
time  I  got  to  the  seventh  and  eighth  grades,  why,  they  had 
built  a  school  on  Seventh  Avenue  in  Los  Angeles.   It  was 
called  the  Arlington  Heights  Elementary  School.   But  they 
didn't  have  the  eighth  grade  there.   It  only  went  to  the 
seventh  grade.   At  that  time,  they  were  forming  the 
intermediate-school  educational  plan.   I  had  to  go  clear 
down  to  Berendo  [Intermediate]  School.   I  lived  on  Van  Ness 
Avenue  at  that  time,  which  was  about  three  miles  that  I  had 
to  go  to  school  every  day.   My  folks  gave  me  a  dime,  which 
was  supposed  to  pay  my  carfare  down  there  and  my  carfare 
back.   But  we  saved  the  dime  by  getting  rides  on  people  in 


automobiles  and  on  the  backs  of  delivery  wagons  and  things 
like  that.   [laughter]   That  way  I  managed  to  eke  out  the 
ten  cents  a  day  for  what  I  could  use  it  for,  I've 
forgotten.   It  usually  went  for  some  kind  of  a  hot  dog  or 
something  like  that  after  coming  into  town. 

Well,  anyway,  the  school  was  a  mess.   They  were  trying 
to  organize  it.   So  I  went  there  for  one  term.   I  was  alert 
to  the  fact  that  I  had  to  have  an  education  by  that  time, 
and  I  was  serious  about  it.   Well,  I  just  didn't  learn 
anything  in  the  eighth  grade  at  Berendo.   English  classes 
were  disorganized.   I  took  German  as  a  second  language 
because  my  friend,  Carl  Haverlin,  was  taking  German.   So  I 
took  German,  too.   This  man  Sabesti  was  a  young  German  who 
had  come  to  this  country.   Of  course,  he  had  the  German 
classes  at  the  Berendo  School.   Gee,  we  had  nothing  but 
riots  there  for  the  thirty-five  or  forty  minutes  of  the 
period  of  the  German  session.   The  kids  throwing  spitballs 
up  against  the  blackboard  and  things  like  that.   This  poor 
German  was  just  at  his  wit's  end.   The  strange  thing  about 
it  was  that  he  blamed  this  friend  of  mine,  Carl  Haverlin, 
for  most  of  the  disorder  that  there  was  in  the  class.   He 
really  wasn't  responsible  for  it  at  all.   He  was  serious 
about  learning  German,  as  I  was.   Most  of  the  class,  they 
were  just  rioting  all  the  time.   They  just  had  this  poor 
German  upset  to  the  point  of  distraction.   I  don't  know  how 


he  put  up  with  it. 

So  in  order  to  get  out  of  the  district,  out  of  the 
Berendo  district,  I  went  over  to  Hollywood  and  lived  with 
my  grandfather  [John  Kistler]  for  a  couple  of  terms.   I 
went  to  Hollywood  High  School  over  there.   It  was  the  only 
way  that  I  could  get  an  education.   Of  course,  Hollywood 
High  School  was  well  organized  at  that  time.   It  was  one  of 
the  principal  high  schools.   From  there,  why,  I  came  back 
to  my  own  home  in  West  Los  Angeles  the  next  year  or  two  and 
enrolled  in  Manual  Arts  High  School. 

RATNER:   I  see.   Which  was  closer  to  your  parents'  house. 
KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   Okay.   I  understand  now. 

KISTLER:   But  to  give  you  some  idea  of  the  disorganization 
of  the  school  district  even  at  that  time,  it  really  is  in 
better  shape  now  than  it  was  then.   But  you  can  imagine 
what  it  was  like  in  the  city  here  at  that  time. 
RATNER:   Okay.   Also,  when  we  were  talking  about  your 
father,  you  mentioned  that  he  was  one  of  L.A.'s  premier 
printers  and  that  he  was  also  quite  progressive.   You  said-- 
I'm  quoting  here-- "Father  always  had  an  eye  out  for 
something  new."   One  of  the  most  progressive  things  he  did, 
it  seems,  was  converting  his  plant  in  1928  from  a 
letterpress  plant  to  an  offset  lithographic  printing 
plant.   I  was  wondering  if  you  could  tell  me  a  little  bit 


more  about  his  decision  to  make  that  change,  and  what  it 
really  meant  in  terms  of  the  type,  quality,  and  quantity  of 
work  being  done. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   My  father  was  established  and  had  learned 
the  printing  business  in  letterpress  work.   Along  in  the 
late  twenties  and  early  thirties,  there  had  been  progress 
made  in  lithography  that  it  became  apparent  that  it  had  an 
application  to  the  ordinary  run  of  printing,  regular 
commercial  printing.   The  offset  press,  which  was  invented 
in  San  Francisco,  I  believe,  in  1905,  had  been 
progressively  adopted  by  the  industry,  the  lithographic 
industry,  which  was  more  or  less  a  separate  entity  in 
itself.   There  was  the  lithographic  industry,  and  then 
there  was  the  printing  industry,  which  was  more  or  less-- 
They  were  separate  entities.   They  didn't  mix  at  all.   But 
when  the  offset  press  came  into  general  use,  it  produced  a 
lot  faster  than  the  old  stone  lithographic  presses  did. 

Over  a  period  of  years,  there  had  been  a  tremendous 
development  in  photography,  too.   The  halftone  method  of 
printing  pictures--in  other  words,  taking  a  photograph  and 
screening  it  and  making  a  negative  that  would  print  a  lot 
of  dots  and  make  what  they  call  a  halftone  cut--had  gained 
precedence  in  the  letterpress  printing.   It  was  found  that 
it  could  be  applied  to  a  lithographic  plate.   The 
improvement  that  had  been  made  was  that  they  got  a  better 


negative.   They  got  to  the  point  where  they  could  make 
negatives  that  could  be  printed  onto  a  thin  zinc  plate 
photographically,  and  they  wouldn't  have  to  be  staged  and 
etched.   In  order  to  get  a  good  halftone  plate,  it  was 
necessary  in  the  beginning  to  make  a  negative.   Then  they 
would  give  it  to  what  they  called  an  etcher,  and  he  would 
work  on  it  with  acid  and  things  like  that  and  reduce  some 
of  the  dots  and  flatten  some  of  the  other  dots  so  that  they 
printed  heavier  and  gave  more  brilliance  to  the  halftone 
cut.   But  they  improved  the  negative  that  they  could  make, 
so  that  they  eliminated  the  hand-etching  in  the  letterpress 
work.   So  that  it  became  possible  to  take  the  negative 
fresh  from  the  camera,  print  it  down  on  a  plate,  make  a 
halftone  print  on  a  thin  plate,  and  put  it  on  an  offset 
press  and  get  excellent  quality.   I  don't  know  if  I've  made 
myself  clear  there  or  not. 
RATNER:   Yes,  you  have. 

KISTLER:   But  it  was  the  combination  of  the  offset  press, 
which  increased  the  speed  with  which  the  work  could  be 
produced,  and  also  through  photography--  The  quality  of  the 
printing  plate,  in  both  the  letterpress  and  lithographic 
offset  plate,  could  be  printed  without  having  any  hand- 
etching  on  it.   I  don't  know  if  I've  made  myself  clear  on 
that  or  not.   I  haven't  thought  about  it  for  the  longest 
time.   It's  hard  for  me  to  recall. 


RATNER:   No,  it's  clear.   So  you  eliminated  a  whole  step. 
KISTLER:   Yes.   It  became  apparent  that  offset  lithography 
was  going  to  take  over  most  of  the  commercial  printing, 
which  it  has.   All  these  magazines  and  everything  are 
printed  and  made  possible  by  the--  They  can  do  it 
photographically  with  a  minimum  of  handwork,  and  they  can 
get  perfect  work.   The  offset  press  improved  the  speed  with 
which  the  work  could  be  produced.   A  stone  press  would- - 
Fifteen  hundred  or  two  thousand  an  hour  was  as  many  sheets 
as  you  could  print  in  an  hour.   With  the  offset  press,  you 
could  print  up  to  twelve  thousand  sheets  an  hour.   Of 
course,  there  are  limitations  that  enter  in  there. 

There  was  another  thing  that  was  very  important. 
Chemically,  the  inks  were  improved,  too.   When  I  went  into 
the  business,  a  lot  of  our  colors  were  what  they  call 
"earth  colors."   In  other  words,  they  ground  up  stone,  and 
they  had  certain  substances  that  they  precipitated  and  used 
for  their  colored  inks.   They  had  different  materials  that 
were  used.   They  ground  up,  as  I  say,  stone  and  different 
precipitations  and  different  things  that  they  could 
precipitate  and  use  for  color.   But  the  invention  of 
aniline  colors,  the  use  of  aniline  colors,  and  the 
development  of  certain  chemicals  and  things  that  they  mixed 
in  the  ink,  they  got  it  so  that  the  inks--  You  could  print 
them  rapidly. 


Even  though  the  offset  press  could  run  at  twelve 
thousand  an  hour,  they  couldn't  run  it  that  fast,  because 
they  didn't  have  ink  that  would  work  on  it.   I  know  at  one 
time  I  bought  a  press  that  had  a  capacity  of  twelve 
thousand  an  hour.   I  thought  I  v/as  going  to  go  right  to 
town  with  it.   I  got  a  long  run  and  made  a  good  price  on 
it,  thinking  that  I  was  going  to  be  able  to  run  it  at 
twelve  thousand  an  hour.   I  stepped  it  up  to  about  eight 
thousand  an  hour,  and  the  ink  just  flew  into  the  air.   It 
covered  a  lot  of  our  stuff  in  my  plant  and  everything  else, 
so  that  I  had  to  reduce  the  speed  of  the  press  down  quite  a 
bit  in  order  to  get  it  to  print.   It  just  tore  that  ink 
apart  and  just  threw  it  into  fine  mist  throughout  the 
plant.   But  today,  they  have  presses  that  run  up  to  fifteen 
thousand  an  hour,  and  they  can  print  one  color  over  the 
other  immediately.   When  I  went  into  the  business,  we  would 
print  one  color,  and  then  we  would  let  it  lay  until  it  had 
set.   Then  we'd  take  it  and  run  another  color  over  it,  and 
another  and  another.   Four-color  printing  that  way  was  a 
lengthy  matter.   It  was  a  hard  thing  to  do.   We  hadn't  gone 
into  air-conditioning,  which  is  another  factor  that  had  to 
be  dealt  with  in  the  printing  business.   It  became 
necessary  to  air-condition  our  plants  in  order  to  get  the 
high  speed.   At  first,  we  were  printing  one  color  over  the 
other,  and  we  had  two-color  presses.   Then  it  went  into 


four-color  presses.   They  have  presses  now  that  you  can 
print  as  high  as  six  colors,  once  through  the  press. 
RATNER:   Wow. 

KISTLER:   Once  through  the  press.   It  goes  through,  really, 
six  presses,  one  after  the  other,  to  print  the  six 
colors.   Most  of  these  magazines  now  are  printed  in  four 
colors.   They  may  have  one  or  two  extra  colors  that  they 
want  to  print  that  are  special.   So  they'll  have  five  and 
six  colors  on  some  of  them.   They've  got  the  inks  made  so 
that  they  will  run  on  those  presses  and  can  be  printed  one 
after  another  immediately.   Because  the  six-color  press  is 
really  six  presses  set  up  one  after  the  other,  so  that  the 
sheet  of  paper  goes  through--one,  two,  three,  four,  five, 
six--one  right  after  the  other.   It's  almost  immediate, 
because  they  run  very  fast.   They  print  up  to  4,000  and 
5,000  impressions  an  hour  on  them  now.   So  it  has  been  a 
combination  of  the  mechanical  presses  and  the  chemicals  and 
chemicalization  and  the  inks  and  the  handling  of  the 
paper.   It's  all  done  automatically  today,  almost. 
RATNER:   Was  your  father  the  first  printer  in  Los  Angeles 
to  convert  to  an  offset  plant? 

KISTLER:   No.   There  were  a  couple.   All  of  the  printers 
were  interested  in  them.   My  father  was  one  of  the  first. 
He  bought  a  one-color  offset  press,  a  35"  X  45"  press.   We 
made  our  own  negatives.   We  stripped  our  own  and  put  them 


together,  put  the  negatives  together,  and  printed  them  down 
on  the  plates  and  made  the  plates.   We  did  the  whole 
process  in  our  shop.   We  sent  the  binding  out,  however.   We 
did  simple  binding:   folding  and  things  like  that.   But 
books  that  we  printed  were  bound  outside  of  the  shop.   The 
binding  of  the  books  was  done  outside  of  our  place  of  the 
books . 

RATNER:   How  receptive  were  his  customers  to  the  change? 
KISTLER:   It  was  a  rather  hard  job  to  sell  the  new  method 
to  people.   They  didn't  understand  it.   There  was  a  lot  of 
educational  work  that  had  to  be  done.   In  other  words,  they 
knew  how  to  prepare  the  copy  for  letterpress  printing,  but 
they  didn't  know  how  to  prepare  for  offset  work  or  how  it 
was  going  to  come  out.   We  had  to  do  a  lot  of  experimen- 
tation.  We  did  a  lot  of  advertising  printing,  and  we  had 
to  do  a  lot  of  talking  in  order  to  get  people  to  use  the 
new  process. 

RATNER:   I  guess  eventually  you  convinced  them,  or  at  least 
most  of  them. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Well,  we  were  fortunate  in  that  regard.   My 
friend  Carl  Haverlin  made  friends  with  Merle  Armitage,  who 
was  the  manager  of  the  Los  Angeles  Grand  Opera  Company  that 
was  operating  along  in  the  twenties  and  early  thirties. 
Merle  was  interested  in  prints,  and  he  was  interested  in 
books.   When  we  put  in  the  new  process,  why,  he  was  one  of 


the  people  that  was  willing  to  go  along  with  what  everyone 
figured  was  an  experimentation.   It  was  an  experimentation 
on  our  part,  too.   We  had  to  run  experiments  before  we 
could  even  convince  him.   But  he  was  interested  in  doing 
books,  so  he  brought  his  books  to  me  through  my  friend  Carl 
Haverlin.   Carl  Haverlin  brought  Merle  Armitage  into  my 
plant  and  introduced  him  to  me.   He  was  impressed  with  the 
letterpress  work  we  were  doing.   He  was  also  enthusiastic 
about  the  offset,  the  possibility  of  printing  books  by 
offset.   So  the  first  book  that  we  did  for  Merle  Armitage 
was  a  book  of--  Let's  see,  what--? 

RATNER:   Here's  something  from  1932,  The  Work  of  Maier- 
Krieg.   Was  that  it? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  [Eugen]  Maier-Krieg.   That's  what  I  was 
trying  to  recall.   We  did  a  book  for  Merle  Armitage  and 
Maier-Krieg.   We  did  the  photography  on  it  and  we  made  the 
plates,  and  it  came  out  a  very  handsome  book.   He  was  well 
pleased  with  it,  and  we  were  well  pleased  with  the  work 
that  we  had  done  on  the  book.   It  created  quite  a 

Merle  Armitage  was  interested  in  prints,  so  I  found 
out  something  about  stone  printing.   It  was  awfully 
difficult  to  get  any  information,  even  from  our  own 
workmen,  about  methods  and  about  improvements  and  about 
special  things  that  people  knew  about  that  they  could  do 


with  lithography.   They  wouldn't  pass  the  information 
around.   It  was  very  secret,  a  secretive  sort  of  thing.   So 
Merle  was  a  collector  of  prints,  and  he  had  gotten  some 
prints  that  were  made  from  stone.   I  decided  that  I  would 
go  back  and  get  what  information  I  could  and  start  right  in 
at  the  bottom  and  build  the  thing  up  from  the  start  so  that 
I  understood  the  process  from  start  to  finish.   In  order  to 
do  that,  why,  I  got  some  stones  in.   At  first,  I  took  zinc 
plates  around,  small  zinc  plates  around  to  my  customers. 
By  that  time,  I  was  out  of  the  plant  and  was  doing  sales 
and  contact  work.   I  was  calling  on  artists  and  advertising 
agencies  and  Merle  Armitage.   Armitage  had  a  very  fine 
collection  of  prints.   Amongst  them  were  a  lot  of  stone 

So  I  got  ahold  of  a  book  [The  Invention  of 
Lithography] .   It  was  published  by  the  Fuchs  and  Lang 
[Manufacturing  Company]  people.   It  was  a  book  that  was 
written  by  the  inventor  of  lithography,  whose  name  was 
Alois  Senef elder.   Lithography  was  one  of  those  inventions 
that  didn't  have  any  background  at  all.   Senef elder  started 
out--  He  wanted  to  print  music. 


JANUARY  3,  1989 

RATNER:   Okay,  when  we  flipped  the  tape,  you  were  saying 
Senef elder  started  out  wanting  to  print  music. 
KISTLER:   So  he  practiced  writing  music  backwards,  which  he 
had  to  do  because  the  printing  plate  they  made  would  print 
backwards  if  it  was  written  on  the  plate  the  right  way.   So 
letterpress  printing  and  the  early  lithography  was  done  by 
pressing  the  paper  against  the  printing  plate,  so  that  what 
you  got  was  a  reverse  of  what  was  on  the  printing  plate. 
So  you  had  to  have  it  backwards  to  start  with.   Do  you 
RATNER:   Yes. 

KISTLER:   So  he  lived  in  Munich  near  the  Solnhofen 
quarries.   That  was  a  big  quarry  for  the  limestone  that  was 
being  used  at  that  time  in  lithography.   Not  in  lithography, 
but  it  was  being  used  in  building.   Lithography  hadn't  been 
invented  yet.   So  he  got  some  of  this  limestone,  and  he  was 
practicing  reversed  writing  on  it.   He  would  etch  it  so 
that  it  stood  up  in  relief,  and  he  could  ink  it  at  the  top 
and  it  would  print.   Progressively,  he  found  it  was  not 
necessary  to  etch  it  so  far.   Finally,  he  got  it  down  to  a 
chemical  method  of  printing  where  it  depended  upon  creating 
a  greasy  surface  from  which  to  print,  and  a  hydroscopic 
surface  could  be  chemically  established.   So  you  had  a 


planographic  plate,  but  there  were  two  different--  You 
changed  the  character  of  the  stone  on  the  surface  to-- 
First,  the  printing  surface  has  changed  to  a  surface  that 
would  take  ink.   The  other  surface  was  treated  chemically 
so  that  it  would  only  take  water.   So  one  place  the  water 
was  was  where  your  printing  surface  was,  and  it  wouldn't 
take  water  because  it  was  greasy.   And  the  blank  surfaces 
would  not  take  ink  because  they  were  damp.   You'd  dampen 
the  stone  first,  and  then  you  rolled  it  with  an  inky 
roller.   The  printing  surface  would  pick  up  the  ink.   The 
hydroscopic  surfaces  were  damp,  and  they  would  repel  the 
ink.   You  inked  the  stone  and  you  put  a  piece  of  paper  on 
it,  and  you'd  pull  your  print  and  you'd  get  what  was  on  the 
stone.   It  would  be  the  right  way,  because  it  was  backwards 
on  the  stone  and  it  would  come  out  reverse.   So  that  was-- 
Let ' s  see,  where  was  I? 

RATNER:   You  were  telling  me  that  you  had  gotten  this  book 
from  Fuchs  and  Lang  to  learn  about  lithography. 
KISTLER:   Oh,  yes.   Lithography  was  an  invention  of  one 
man.   There  was  no  background  to  it  at  all,  except  that  he 
wanted  to  make  a  printing  process  that  he  could  print  music 
with.   So,  progressively,  he  worked  this  method  out  until 
he  had  a  planographic  plate,  and  from  there  it  took  off. 
But  all  of  the  work  on  the  stone  at  first  was  done  by 
hand.   Of  course,  there  was  no  photography  until  very  late 


in  the  nineteenth  century.   Senef elder  invented  lithography 
in  1796.   So  just  about  a  hundred  years  [later],  approxi- 
mately, why,  it  commenced  to  come  out,  the  whole  process. 

So  I  went  ahead  and  went  through  all  of  his 
explanation  of  stone  work.   I  accumulated  some  stones  to 
experiment  on.   I  experimented,  went  to  artists  and  asked 
them  to  make  a  drawing  on  a  stone  or  on  a  zinc  plate,  which 
was  also  possible  to  work  on  lithographically  at  that 
time.   I'd  bring  them  back  and  pull  a  half  dozen  or  a  dozen 
prints,  and  I'd  give  the  artist  half  the  prints  and  I'd 
take  half  myself. 

RATNER:   Instead  of  charging  them? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   I  couldn't  get  anybody  to  pay  for  it. 
[laughter]   Merle  Armitage  was  a  friend  of  artists:   Edward 
Weston,  the  photographer,  and--  Well,  one  day,  he  walked 
into  our  plant,  and  I  was  working  on  some  of  the  things 
that  I  was  doing  there.   He  brought  a  man  by  the  name  of 
Jean  Chariot. 

RATNER:   Right.   We  mentioned  that  a  little  bit  last  time. 
KISTLER:   Yes,  into  the  plant.   He  introduced  me  as  "the 
best  lithographer  in  Southern  California."   Chariot  was 
impressed.   I  had  some  big  stones  there,  the  size  of  that 
one  there. 

RATNER:   How  big  is  that,  would  you  say? 
KISTLER:   Well,  that's  about  26"  X  30"  I  guess.   I  agreed 


to  print  this  piece  for  Jean  Chariot. 

RATNER:   Which  is  called  Woman  with  Child  on  Back,  is  that 

KISTLER:   Yes,  that's  right.   I  did  that  with  the  help  of 
one  of  my  men,  Tom  [Thomas]  Barr.   He  was  one  of  the  men 
that  I  could  get  information  from.   He  was  a  friend  of  the 
family,  too.   He  gave  me  some  information  on  it.   I  went 
ahead  and  I  printed  it  and  pulled  about  twenty  prints  in 
two  colors.   That  was  my  start  in  the  thing. 
RATNER:   So  that  was  very  ambitious  to  start  with  color 
when  you'd  never  done  a  stone  print  before. 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  was  kind  of  stuck,  because  Merle  Armitage 
was  my  best  customer  at  that  time.   I  was  doing  books  for 
him.   Or  he  was  getting  ready  to  do  books,  rather,  at  that 
time.   So,  after  that  first  work,  the  first  book  that  I  did 
with  Armitage--  I  guess  I  had  printed  about  five  or  six 
books  on  the  offset  press  by  the  time  I  had  gotten  in  touch 
with  Chariot.   Chariot  was  a  Frenchman.   He'd  spent  about 
four  or  five  years  down  in  Yucatan  making  drawings  of  the 
stone  work  at  Chichen  Itza.   So  he  had  made  friends  with 
[Jose  Clemente]  Orozco  and  [Diego]  Rivera  and  a  lot  of 
those  Mexican  artists.   They  were  doing  some  work  on 
stone.   They  were  drawing  on  stone.   So  when  he  came  up 
here,  he  started  to  look  around  for  a  printer  to  do 
stone.   Merle  Armitage,  who  was  interested  in  his  work. 


brought  him  into  my  shop.   That's  the  way  I  got  acquainted 
with  him. 

RATNER:   And  had  he  ever  done  color  before? 
KISTLER:   No.   He  had  never  done  any  color  lithographs 
before.   So  we  pulled  that  one  off,  and  it  came  off  so 
well.   Then  I  expanded  and  I  did,  oh,  maybe  a  couple  of 
hundred  different  lithographs  for  him.   He  had  quite  a 
number  of  drawings,  and  he  wanted  to  put  them  into  a 
book.   So  I  talked  my  father  into  doing  it  on  this  large 
offset  press  that  we  had.   We  had  eight  different  images  on 
a  sheet,  and  we  printed  them  in  from  one  to  six  colors,  and 
they  had  to  be  run  through  separately.   Each  one  of  these 
drawings  had  to  be  registered  with  the  whole  sheet,  and  all 
of  them  had  to  hit  right  in  the  right  position.   The  size 
of  the  sheet  that  we  were  running  was  35"  X  45",  which  is 
pretty  big.   It  was  really  an  ambitious  undertaking  to 
undertake  a  hand-drawn  book  from  four  to  eight  colors .   We 
had  to  run  each  color  separately,  let  it  dry  for  a  day.   We 
had  no  air-conditioning.   It  was  awfully  hazardous  running 
them.   We  had  five  forms  on  them.   We  had  four  forms  of  the 
drawings.   We  turned  out  this  book  [Picture  Book] .   It  was 
really  an  accomplishment  because  of  the  problems,  the 
undertaking.   I  don't  believe  that  there ' d  ever  been 
anything  done  like  it,  and  I've  never  seen  anything  like  it 
anyplace  that  was  done  before  we  accomplished  this  in  our 


plant.   Each  color  was  drawn  separately  on  a  separate 

plate.   Then  the  colors  were  printed  separately,  one  at  a 

time.   It  would  take  us  about  a  week  or  more  to  finish  the 

printing  on  one  of  the  forms  that  we  had.   We  had  five 

forms . 

RATNER:   But  a  total  of  thirty- two  lithographs  made  up  that 

book,  right? 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   So  that  must  have  taken  an  awfully  long  time.   Do 

you  remember  how  long  the  entire  project  was? 

KISTLER:   Well,  it  took  us  about  six  months,  I  guess,  to 

finish  it. 

RATNER:   I  have  here  too  that  it  was  designed  by  Merle 

Armitage.   What  does  that  mean? 

KISTLER:   Well,  he  laid  out  the  book.   He  was  the  designer 

of  the  book,  and  I  set  the  type.   It  was  a  handset  type.   I 

set  the  type,  and  we  had  to  make  a  separate  plate  for  the 

printing  that  went  with  it.   You  haven't  seen  the  book, 

have  you? 

RATNER:   I  saw  just  one.   I  saw  a  copy  at  the  [William 

Andrews]  Clark  [Memorial]  Library. 

KISTLER:   Oh,  you  did? 

RATNER:   I  enjoyed  looking  at  it.   If  you  had  a  copy  here, 

I'd  like  to  look  at  it  again  with  you  if  there  was  anything 

you  wanted  to  tell  me  more  specifically  about  it. 


KISTLER:   Well,  I'll  go  and  get  it.   [tape  recorder  off] 

RATNER:   So  this  is  the  original  Picture  Book  right  here? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   There  was  a  wrapper  that  went  around  it, 

and  I  had-- 

RATNER:   Instead  of  a  slipcover  like  that? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  instead.   This  was  a  wrapper,  but  it 

deteriorated.   I  found  one  in  a  bookstore  and  bought  it. 

So  I  made  a  slipcase  out  of  it. 

RATNER:   Oh,  that  was  a  good  idea.   So  you  printed  five 

hundred  of  these,  I  know. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  that's  right. 

RATNER:   And  to  whom  were  they  sold  initially? 

KISTLER:   Well,  they  were  sold  to  subscribers.   They  sold 

them  by  subscription. 

RATNER:   So  that's  how  you  financed  the  project? 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   I  see. 

KISTLER:   That's  right. 

RATNER:   Well,  maybe  you  should  be  showing  it  to  me  and 

telling  me. 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  don't  know.   It's  a  picture  book. 

[laughter]   That  one,  I  believe  there  are  four  or  five 

colors  on  that.   Each  one  of  those  colors  was  drawn  on  a 


RATNER:   On  a  separate  plate. 


KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   I  know  at  the  Clark  they  have--  I  think  maybe  you 

gave  them  some  of  the  trial  proofs  or  something,  because  I 

know  I  saw  something  that  was  progressive  stages  of  colors. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  yes. 

RATNER:   Then  whose  idea  was  it  to  have--?  Paul  Claudel,  I 

guess,  was  the  Frenchman  who  wrote  the  inscriptions? 

KISTLER:   Well,  he  [Chariot]  was  a  Frenchman,  and  he  was  a 

friend  of  Paul  Claudel.   He  wanted  to  sell  some  in 

France.   So  he  had  a  friend  of  Merle  Armitage's  [Elise 

Cavanna  Seeds]  translate.   It  was  written  in  French  at 

first,  and  this  friend  of  Merle's  translated  it  from  French 

into  English. 

RATNER:   Then  it  also  won  an  award,  right?   It  was  one  of 

the  fifty-- 

KISTLER:   One  of  the  Fifty  Books  of  the  Year  from  the 

American  Institute  of  Graphic  Arts. 

RATNER:   So  considering  this  was  your  first  effort  at 

something  like  this,  you  must  have  all  been  very  thrilled, 

beyond  words,  I  imagine. 

KISTLER:   [laughter]   I'm  still  thrilled  with  it,  you 

know.   It's  one  of  the  things  that  I'm  proudest  of  that 

I've  made. 

RATNER:   Was  your  father  resistant  at  first? 

KISTLER:   No,  he  was--  He  should  have  spanked  me  instead  of 


letting  me  do  it.   [laughter]   But  he  was  very  cooperative. 

RATNER:   I  remember  also  reading  in  some  of  the 

correspondence  at  the  Clark  that,  I  guess,  if  you  can  even 

find  this  in  a  rare  bookstore  now,  it's  quite  costly.   Do 

you  remember  what  it  cost  when  it  first  was  completed  in 


KISTLER:   Fifteen  dollars,  I  believe. 

RATNER:   Fifteen  dollars.   What's  it  going  for  now?   Do  you 


KISTLER:   Well,  it  has  sold  for  as  high  as  $3,500  for  a 

single  book.   That  one  there  I  think  I  bought  from  a 

bookstore  recently--about  two  years  ago,  I  think--and  I 

paid  $1,000  for  it!   [laughter] 

RATNER:   My  goodness.   So  you  didn't  keep  any  for  yourself 

at  the  beginning?   [laughter] 

KISTLER:   No.   I've  always  wanted  to  get  my  work  out.   I 

printed  because  I  wanted  people  to  have  prints.   My 

ambition  was  to  print  and  make  good  artwork  of  important 

artists  available  at  a  reasonable  price.   I  was  interested 

in  doing  that,  and  I  thought  that  lithographs  were  suited 

to  that  purpose.   So  I  always  priced  everything  as  low  as  I 

could  and  tried  to  get  widespread  distribution.   But  I 

think  my  idea  was  wrong,  because  if  you  want  to  impress 

anybody  you  want  to  put  a  high  price  on  it,  and  then 

they'll  want  it  real  bad. 


RATNER:   [laughter]   That's  unfortunately  true. 

KISTLER:   If  it's  too  cheap,  why,  they  don't  think  it's 

worth  much. 

RATNER:   You're  right  about  that.   I  think  I  also  remember 

reading  that  initially  you  couldn't  sell  all  of  them  and 

that  you  sold  some  of  the  plates  individually.   Is  that 

true?   Am  I  mixing  that  up  with  another  project? 

KISTLER:   I  think  that  I  did  frame  some  of  them  and  sell 

them  signed,  individual  prints. 

RATNER:   This  is  in  beautiful  condition.   The  quality  of 

the  paper  is  really  lovely.   That  was  during  the 

Depression.   How  difficult  was  it  to  get  good  quality  paper 

and  inks  and  things  at  that  time? 

KISTLER:   Well,  the  paper  industry  had  not  recovered  at 

that  time.   This  was  the  best  paper  that  I  could  buy,  and 

it  was  from  the  Strathmore  Paper  Company,  which  had  a  very 

good  name  at  that  time.   It  was  the  best  paper  that  was 

available.   I  had  it  shipped  in  from  out  of  town.   They 

made  the  special  paper  that  they  were  making  at  that  time. 

RATNER:   How  had  the  Depression  affected  the  lithography 

industry,  in  Los  Angeles  in  particular? 

KISTLER:   Well,  eventually  it  put  my  father  out  of 

business,  really,  is  what  happened.   Financing  wasn't  as 

available.   We  had  a  lot  of  equipment.   We  had  a  good 

business,  but  we  hadn't--  That  is,  we  had  good  equipment 


and  everything,  but  we  didn't  have  enough  to  keep  us  in 

RATNER:  And  it  was  that  way  pretty  much  across  the  board? 
KISTLER:  Yes,  it  was  pretty  much  that  way.  A  lot  of  them 
went  out  of  business  at  that  time. 

RATNER:   What  year  was  that  that  your  father  finally  went 
out  of  business? 
KISTLER:   Nineteen  thirty-six. 

RATNER:   Well,  I  know  you  said  last  time  also  that  after 
you  had  printed  your  first  lithograph  with  Chariot,  the 
Woman  with  Child  on  Back,  you  wanted  to  do  nothing  but 
print  from  stone.   I  think  you  said  that  that  was  a  crazy 
thing  to  want  to  do.   What  was  so  crazy  about  that? 
KISTLER:   [laughter]   Well,  there  was  too  much  promotional 
work  to  be  done,  and  there  were  not  enough  artists  that 
were  available  that  could  do  the  work,  that  their  work  was 
available.   There  was  really  no  market  for  it,  except  an 
occasional  collector  like  Merle  Armitage.   There  weren't 
any  of  the  fine  marketing  techniques  that  they  have  today, 
you  know,  to  get  people  in  to  buy  things.   Gee,  the  way 
that  they  razz  you  on  the  television.   The  amount  of 
advertising  matter  that  we  get  here  is  just--  Well,  it 
disturbs  me  that  there's  so  much  of  it,  just  loaded.   The 
advertising  is  written  by  people  that  studied  psychology, 
and  they're  highly  educated  in  the  use  of  the  products  and 


everything.   Marketing  has  become--  Well,  I  think  that  it's 
a  nuisance  today.   I  don't  think  that  half  of  the  products 
that  are  on  the  market  are  worth  the  money  that  they  ask 
for  them  if  they  do  what  they're  supposed  to  do.   But 
they're  just  sold  on  the  basis  of  the  pressure  that's  put 
on  people.   You  get  on  the  television  here,  and  almost  all 
of  the  stations  are  just  loaded  with  advertising.   Look  at 
your  newspapers  and  look  at--  I'll  bet  you  get  a  lot  of 
direct  mail  yourself. 
RATNER:   Yes,  I  do. 

KISTLER:   We  get  a  stack  like  that  almost  every  day, 
solicitations  of  various  art.   And  these  people  are 
experienced  in  changing  your  mind,  too.   They  know  how  to 
do  it.   They  just  keep  after  it,  and  in  spite  of  the  fact 
that  you  say  no,  why,  they've  got  yes  in  their  mind  all  the 
time.   That's  what  happens  to  you  when  you  get  so  much  of 
this  stuff.   We  throw  away  tons  of  stuff  here  that  we  don't 
even  open  the  letters  on.   Some  of  these  solicitations  that 
are  made  almost  make  you  cry,  they're  written  so  well  and 
are  so  persuasive.   And  they  don't  take  no  for  an  answer. 
You  tell  them  no  once,  why,  they  send  you  some  more,  and 
then  they  pass  it  around.   They  pass  your  name  around. 
They  trade  names  with  other  people.   I  don't  know  what's 
going  to  become  of  this  advertising  business.   When  people 
get  as  smart  as  I  am  about  it,  well,  then--  [laughter] 


RATNER:   Then  maybe  they'll  stop  a  little  bit. 

[laughter]   They  won't  be  getting  any  money  in  the  mail. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   Well,  I  thought  we'd  go  on  now  and  talk  about--  In 

1933,  after  you  had,  I  guess,  gotten  some  artists  to  print 

from  stone- - 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   As  you  say,  after  you  had  done  this  print  with 

Chariot,  and  I  guess  actually  even  completed  the  first 

Picture  Book.   You  must  have  done  a  fair  amount,  because  I 

have  a  little  brochure  here  from  an  exhibition  that  you 

held.   It  was  your  first  exhibition  of  your  work,  entitled 

"Impressions  Printed  by  Hand  from  Stone  and  Zinc  by  Lynton 

Kistler  at  the  Stendahl  Gallery."   Then  that  little  catalog 

includes  an  introduction  by  Merle  Armitage.   Here,  I  can 

show  it  to  you.   I  don't  know--it's  a  xerox--how  well  you 

can  see  it,  but--  I  wondered  how  that  project  came  into 


KISTLER:   Yes.   Well,  I  don't--  I'm  just  trying  to  think 

when  that  was  done. 

RATNER:   Nineteen  thirty- three,  I  think  it  says. 

KISTLER:   Well,  that  was  done  when  I  was  still  at  my 

father's  shop.   Yes.   Yes,  I  remember  it  now.   Thomas  Barr, 

Edwin  Botsford,  John  Breneiser,  Stanley  Breneiser,  Jean 

Chariot,  Richard  Day,  Franz  Geritz,  Paul  Landacre.   I  did 


one  of  the  few  lithographs  that  he  ever  did. 

RATNER:   He  did  mostly  etching,  Landacre? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   He  was  a  very  good  friend  of  mine.   He 

wanted  to  do  more,  but  I  advised  him  to  stay  with  his  wood 

engraving,  because  he  had  a  specialty  there  that  he  was 

trying  to  sell.   Gerd  Lovick,  Warren  Newcombe.   Yes,  I 

remember  that . 

RATNER:   And  then  there  are  more  names  here,  too. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Warren  Newcombe,  Elise  Seeds.   That  was 

Merle  Armitage's  wife  at  that  time.   He  was  married  several 

times.   I  think  he  was  married  six  times. 

RATNER:   Oh,  my  goodness. 

KISTLER:   Henrietta  Shore,  Blanding  Sloane,  Beatrice 

Wood.   That  was  all. 

RATNER:   So  what  made  you  decide  to  mount  this  exhibition? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  wanted  to  sell  the  prints.   I  wanted  to 

get  more  printing.   I  wanted  to  get  more  printing  to  do  by 

selling  the  prints.   It  was  the  whole  idea. 

RATNER:   And  did  you  know  [Earl]  Stendahl  before  this, 

before  you  asked  him  if  you  could  have  the  exhibition 


KISTLER:   Yes,  I  think  I  did. 

RATNER:   And  did  many  prints  sell? 

KISTLER:   Not  very  many.   The  trouble  was  that  the  people 

came  in  and--  Well,  when  I  had  my  gallery  at  Third  [Street] 


and  Carondelet  [Street],  why,  they'd  come  in  and  go  through 
my  whole  stock  and  pick  one  or  two  and  say,  "Well,  I'll  be 
in  in  a  couple  of  days,  and  I'll  think  about  it."   They'd 
go  through  everything  that  I  had.   They'd  come  back  and 
then  decide  that  they  didn't  want  it.   Or  if  they  did  buy  a 
print,  why,  it  was  $5  or  $10  I  got  out  of  it,  which  didn't 
amount  to  a  hill  of  beans  as  far  as  keeping  me  in  business 
was  concerned.   I  had  my  prints  in  several  galleries,  but 
the  galleries  just  used  them  as  a  come-on.   They  get  them 
in  and  they  find  out  that  they  liked  a  certain  artist,  why, 
then  they  would  try  to  sell  them  a  painting--and  usually 
did  before  they  got  through- -rather  than  a  lithograph.   It 
was  just  too  big  an  emotional  job  for  me  to  undertake  all 
by  myself. 

RATNER:   Right,  to  do  the  printing  and  to  do  that,  too. 
KISTLER:   Yes.   But  I  liked  the  work,  and  I  did  work  at  it 
for  quite  a  number  of  years. 

RATNER:   How  much  increased  business  from  artists,  for 
example,  did  you  get  from  having  that  exhibition? 
KISTLER:   Well,  I  had  regular  contact  with  artists  right 

RATNER:   So,  I  mean,  additional  artists  that  hadn't  known 
about  you,  then  they  found  out  about  you  from  that? 
KISTLER:   Yes.   Yes,  they  came  from  all  over.   I  had  them 
come  from  Arizona  and  New  Mexico.   I  was  back  in  New  York 


at  one  time.   I  was  walking  down  the  street.   At  the 
Rockefeller  Center  there's  a  gallery  on  Fifth  Avenue  there, 
and  I  saw  some  pictures  of  some  horses.   Bug-eyed  horses. 
I've  got  the  lithographs  in  the  back  that  I  made. 
[Florencio]  Molino  Campos,  he  was  an  Argentine  who  was  run 
out  of  Argentina  by  [Juan]  Peron.   He  either  had  to  get  out 
or  they  were  going  to  shoot  him.   So  he  came  up  to  this 
country,  and  he  made  calendars  for  the  International 
Harvester  Company.   He  had  some  paintings  on  exhibit  in  the 
window  on  Fifth  Avenue.   I  saw  these  paintings  and  them 
bug-eyed  horses,  and  they're  as  cute  as  they  can  be.   So  I 
said,  "Gee,  I'd  sure  like  to  get  him  into  my  studio  and  get 
him  to  do  some  work."   After  I  opened  my  studio  at  Third 
and  Carondelet,  why,  he  walked  into  my  place  one  day-- 
RATNER:   Just  coincidentally? 
KISTLER:   Just  coincidentally,  yes. 
RATNER:   Oh,  my  goodness. 

KISTLER:   What  a  thrill  that  was  for  me.   I  thought,  gee, 
I'm  going  to  get  some  marvelous  lithographs  now,  even  if  I 
have  to  print  them  for  nothing.   [laughter]   But  he 
couldn't  work  in  black  and  white.   He  had  to  have  color. 
And  I  wasn't  in  the  position  at  that  time  to  do  color.   I 
had  quite  a  bit  of  black  and  white  work  that  I  was  doing. 
But  later  on,  when  I  got  into  printing  offset  lithographs, 
why,  I  printed  some  in  color,  and  they  turned  out 


marvelous.   But  they  didn't  sell  any  better  than  any  of  the 

others.   There  was  a  sales  problem  there  that  needed 

solving,  and  it  needed  somebody  to  take  it  over  and  sell 


RATNER:   From  the  works  that  you  showed  in  the  Stendahl 

show  in  '33,  were  those  artists--?  How  were  you  paid  for 

that  work? 

KISTLER:   Well,  some  of  it  I  printed  just  for  experience. 

Some  of  them  were  the  pictures  that  I  had  printed  in  my 

father's  plant  in  experimentation.   I'd  go  around  to  these 

artists  and  I'd  tell  them  about  it  and  give  them  a  piece  of 

zinc  and  say,  "Make  a  drawing  on  it  with  a  lithograph 

crayon,  and  I'll  print  them  for  you."   I  would  take  half  of 

the  prints,  I'd  give  them  half  of  the  prints,  and  we  were 

in  business. 

RATNER:   So  at  that  point  you  were  still  maybe  taking  part 

of  the  edition. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I'd  still.   And  some  of  those  that  I 

included  in  that  Stendahl--  I  think  that  those  were  done  in 

that  catalog.   I  think  that's  the  first  catalog  that  I  put 


RATNER:   I  think  so,  from  what  I  read. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   They  were  all  printed  either  in  my  father's 

shop  or  in  my  garage.   It  didn't  work  out  very  well  for  me 

to  have  my  stone  printing  in  the  shop,  in  my  father's 


shop.   So  I  bought  a  lithograph  press,  a  lithograph 
transfer  press.   I  took  it  out  and  I  put  it  in  my  garage. 
A  lot  of  the  things  that  I've  printed  were  printed  in  the 
garage  there.   I  set  up  a  place  to  grain  my  plates  and 
everything.   Saturdays  and  Sundays,  why,  I  would  put  in  my 
time  printing.   And  I  had  the  neighbors  all  upset.   There 
was  one  neighbor  that  was  upset,  the  man  across  the  street 
from  me,  because  I  had  so  many  people  in  my  place.   I  was 
doing  it  for  nothing  then  because  I  was  doing  it  just  as  a 
trade-off.   You  know,  I'd  give  them  prints  and  not  charge 
them  for  them,  and  I'd  take  prints  as  pay  for  my  work. 
That's  the  way  that  I  had  to  do  most  of  it.   So  that  there 
wasn't  very  much  money  coming  out  of  it,  but  of  course  I 
didn't  have  any  rent  there.   But  there  was  a  time  when  the 
artists  were  interested  enough  that  they  would  come  to  my 
place  and,  well,  practically,  there  would  be  no  place  to 
park  on  the  street  because  of  the  people  who  were  there. 
This  one  neighbor  went  to  the  planning  commission  and 
complained  about  it.   I  said,  "Well,  it's  a  hobby.   What 
are  you  going  to  do  about  it?"   [laughter]   So  he  couldn't 
do  anything  because  I  wasn't  taking  any  money  for  what  I 
was  doing. 


JANUARY  10,  1989 

RATNER:   We  spoke  last  time  about  your  show  in  1933  at  the 
Stendahl  Gallery.   I'd  like  to  know  a  little  bit  more  about 
some  of  the  other  galleries  that  were  active  in  Los  Angeles 
during  the  thirties,  and  particularly  their  interest  in 
prints,  such  as  the  [Dalzell]  Hatfield  Gallery  and  Jake 
Zeitlin's  gallery. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Well,  I  would  say  that  Hatfield  and  Zeitlin 
were  the  best  known  galleries.   Dalzell  Hatfield  was  a 
dealer  in  paintings,  of  course.   With  his  wife  Ruth 
[Hatfield] ,  they  had  quite  an  extensive  business  in  Los 
Angeles  here.   They  were  the  leading  dealers  and  very 
active  in  handling  the  work  of  local  artists  and  bringing 
new  things  into  the  area  here.   They  had  several  rooms  in 
the  Ambassador  Hotel,  and  they  were  the  most  active  people 
in  paintings.   Unfortunately  for  printmakers,  they  used-- 
All  of  the  dealers  here  used  the  prints  that  were  delivered 
to  them  to  drum  up  business.   They  [the  customers]  would 
come  in  interested  in  prints,  and  they  would  swing  them 
over  to  paintings.   They  were  more  interested  in  selling 
their  paintings.   Of  course,  you  couldn't  blame  them  for 
doing  that,  because  they  had  considerable  expense. 

Prints  at  that  time  needed  quite  a  lot  done  on  them  to 
make  them  popular,  make  them  generally  collected.   Merle 


Armitage,  who  was  the  most  active  print  collector  in  this 
area  at  that  time,  he  had  a  considerable  collection  of 
etchings  and  lithographs  and  things  of  that  sort  that 
antedated  all  the  work  that  I  had  done.   He  was  immensely 
interested  in  the  work  that  I  had  taken  up  in  the  printing 
of  lithographs,  the  fact  that  I  got  interested  in  printing 
the  art  lithographs.   So  that  there  weren't  too  many 
galleries  that  were  handling  the  prints.   We  not  only  had 
to  print  the  prints  and  promote  the  media  of  lithography 
amongst  the  artists,  but  we  also  had  to  do  our  best  to  sell 
some  of  the  prints  in  order  to  get  people  interested  in 
them.   There  was  a  lot  of  work  to  be  done.   There  still  is 
a  lot  of  work  to  be  done  as  far  as  prints  are  concerned.   I 
think  that  prints  are  really  a  very  fine  opportunity  for 
the  average  person  to  accumulate  first-class  artwork  and 
fine  artists'  work  at  a  reasonable  price.   It  brings  it 
within  the  reach  of  the  average  man,  so  that  the  average 
person  can  possess  the  work  of  real  well  known  artists. 
Here  on  my  walls  right  now,  I've  got  the  work  of  Jean 
Chariot  and  [Stanton]  Macdonald-Wright  and  these  two 
woodblock  cutters.   Let's  see,  it's  Thomas  Wolfe  and--  I 
can't  think  of  the  other  one  right  now. 
RATNER:   Paul  Landacre? 

KISTLER:   Well,  yes,  Paul  Landacre.   And,  let's  see,  Wolfe, 
and  I  don't  know  this  other  one  here.   What's  his  name? 


RATNER:   [pause]   I  can't  read  it.   Henry  something  maybe? 
KISTLER:   Oh,  isn't  that  something?   Gee,  he's  well 
known.   [pause]   Hmm.   Well,  put  it  aside.   It  will  come  to 
me.   My  memory's  not  as  good  as  it  used  to  be. 

Then  there  are  two  there  that  are  very  well  known. 
Laura  Knight,  there's  an  aquatint  by  her,  and  a  lithograph 
by  Rockwell  Kent.   At  the  time  that  I  accumulated  these 
things,  I  couldn't  afford  a  painting,  so  I  feel  as  though 
it's  a  real  opportunity  to  own  something  worthwhile,  not 
just  have  a  lot  of  junk  on  the  wall.   You  don't  have  to  cut 
magazines  apart  and  put  them  up.   I  got  the  real  artwork 
on.   I  appreciate  it  very  much,  being  able  to  have  them.   I 
think  that  lithography  is  something  that  the  average  person 
can  afford.   Even  the  watercolors  of  some  of  the  better- 
known  artists  are  very  expensive.   Prints  that  are  signed 
are  really  of  real  value. 

RATNER:   Why  do  you  feel  there  was  so  little  regard  during 
the  thirties,  for  example,  for  prints?   You  know,  by  these 
gallery  owners  who  preferred  to  sell  paintings  over  prints. 
KISTLER:   Well,  because  they  got  more  money  for  them,  they 
promoted  them  more.   The  artists  didn't  hold  their  work  as 
valuable  enough.   The  prices  that  are  asked  for  prints 
today  are  far  above  what  we  were  able  to  ask  for,  I  mean. 
Ask  for  them  and  not  get  it.   [laughter]   You  get  an 
idea.   Not  even  get  the  sale  of  them.   They  used  to  come 


into  my  place  and  they  would  go  through  all  of  the  prints 
that  I  had.   When  I  was  at  Third  [Street]  and  Carondelet 
[Street] ,  why,  I  was  operating  in  the  whole  field  of  the 
business.   I  was  producing  the  prints  and  doing  everything 
but  drawing  them.   I  had  a  gallery  as  well  as  a  printing 
shop.   I  sent  prints  that  were  printed  in  my  plant 
throughout  the  United  States,  up  and  down  the  coast.   I  had 
a  little  gallery  in  my  place,  and  then  I  sent  all  of  the 
shows  up  as  far  as  Seattle  and  over  to  Brooklyn,  New  York, 
Cleveland,  and  places  like  that.   At  the  Los  Angeles 
[County]  Museum  [of  History,  Science,  and  Art] ,  when  it  was 
over  in  Exposition  Park,  I  had  shows  every  year  of 
prints.   I  had  from  a  third  to  a  half  of  the  prints  that 
were  shown  in  the  show  at  that  time,  sometimes.   For  four 
or  five  years  there,  I  had-- 

RATNER:   How  actively  were  they  collecting  prints? 
KISTLER:   Well,  they  were  taking  all  that  were  given  to 
them.   They  were  not  buying  any  or  anything  like  that. 
There  were  no  prizes  offered,  but  they  did  run  a  show  every 
year  for  several  years  while  they  were  over  in  Exposition 

RATNER:   How  about  Jake  Zeitlin's  gallery?   Because  wasn't 
he  more  oriented  towards  prints? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   He  was  very  active  in  prints.   Of  course, 
he  was  more  interested  in  prints  than  he  was  in  paintings. 


because  he  didn't  have  a  painting  gallery.   The  Los  Angeles 

museum  and--  Let's  see,  that  outfit  there  that  was  out 

there  next  to  Jake's.   Wasn't  that  the  Los  Angeles  museum 

of--?  Hmm.   I  can't  remember.   It  was  the  Southern 


RATNER:   In  the  thirties? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  yes.   Helen  Wurdemann  was-- 

RATNER:   I  think  I  came  across  her  name  somewhere.   I'll 

have  to  check.   Her  name  sounds  familiar  to  me.   I'll  have 

to  check  on  that,  but  that  does  sound  familiar. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   I  ought  to  be  able  to  tell  you  these 

things,  but  I'm  just  [snaps  fingers] -- 

RATNER:   That's  all  right.   I'll  check  on  that  and  then  we 

can  talk  about  it  next  time. 

KISTLER:   Do  you  know  where  that  gallery  is  out  there?   It 


RATNER:   I  don't  know  where  it  was  originally.   I  know  on 

La  Cienega  [Boulevard] . 

KISTLER:   Yes,  and  it  was  next  door  to  Jake  Zeitlin's 

place.   I  can't  remember  what  that  was  called,  and  I  am  an 

honorary  member  there,  too.   I  can't  think  of  it.   I  can't 

be  sure  of  the  name. 

LELAH  KISTLER:   Is  it  in  your  date  book? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  think  it  is.   Southern  California,  it 

might  be  that.   Or  it  might  be  Los  Angeles.   I  can't 


remember  now.   [Los  Angeles  Art  Association] 
RATNER:   So  that  was  located,  though,  next  to  the  Zeitlin 
gallery,  and  it  was  interested  in  prints  also? 
KISTLER:   Yes.   Then  there  was  another  lady  that  had  a 
gallery.   That  was  along  in  the  sixties  and  seventies. 
RATNER:   Yes,  a  little  later.   And  I  know  there  were  some 
more  in  the  forties,  too,  that  I'll  want  to  talk  to  you 
about  in  a  few  minutes. 
KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   What  about  some  of  the  artists  that  you  worked 
with  during  the  thirties?   For  example,  I  know  you  worked 
with  Conrad  Buff  and  Palmer  Schoppe.   How  did  you  happen  to 
meet  them? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  think  that  they  came  into  my  place.   Or  I 
may  have  looked  them  up.   I  called  on  a  lot  of  the  artists 
and  would  go  around  and  see  them  and  talk  to  them  about 
doing  lithographs.   I'd  try  to  get  them  interested  in  it. 
Palmer  Schoppe,  I  don't  remember  just  how  I  did  meet  him, 
but  he  worked  with  me.   He  was  one  of  the  early  ones  that  I 
worked  with,  because  he  was  my  assistant  for  quite  a  little 
while.   I  tried  to  get  him  to  take  up  the  printing  of 
lithography,  but  I  couldn't  get  anybody  else  interested  in 
doing  the  printing.   I  was  going  to  do  the  promotion,  but  I 
had  to  do  the  promotion  and  the  printing,  too. 
[laughter]   I  didn't  have  much  choice.   I  had  to  do 


everything.   I  had  to  provide  the  gallery,  I  had  to  do  the 

printing  of  the  prints  and  had  to  promote  it  and  everything 

else.   I  used  to  take  my  press  apart  and  take  it  around  the 

city  here  in  various  places.   I  don't  mind  telling  you  that 

it  really  was  a  job  to  do. 

RATNER:   I  bet!   It  must  have  been  very  heavy. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Sometimes  it  was  upstairs  and  things  like 

that,  but  I'd  take  it  down  in  order  just  to  make  one 

demonstration,  you  know,  get  people  interested  in  it.   I 

think  that  I  did  encourage  the  first  interest  in 

lithography.   But  it  was  too  much  of  a  job.   I  had  to  do  it 

all.   There  was  nobody  else  that  was  interested  in  it. 

There  was  the  man  at  the  Times.   These  names  escape  me  just 

when  I  want  them.   I  can't  think.   He  was  editor,  the  art 

editor  of  the  Los  Angeles  Times.   He  was  very  helpful  in 

promoting  the  work,  and  he  gave  my  gallery  and  my  work 

quite  a  bit  of  publicity,  and  the  artists  that  I  was 

working  with. 

RATNER:   Is  that  Arthur  Millier? 

KISTLER:   Arthur  Millier,  yes.   He  was  very  active.   He 

really  deserves  an  awful  lot  of  credit  for  putting  this 

city  on  the  map  as  far  as  art  was  concerned.   He  was  very 

active  in  telling  people  about  the  new  artists  and  the 

artists  that  were  accomplishing  something. 

RATNER:   So  when  you  were  printing  for  these  early  artists. 


how  did  that  work?   Most  of  the  people  would  take  a  stone 

or  a  zinc  plate  to  their  studio  and  then  come  back  and  have 

you  print  it?   Or  did  they  work  in  your  studio?   What  was 

the  set-up? 

KISTLER:   Well,  the  setup  was--  I  ran  a  school,  too. 


RATNER:   When  was  that?   That  was  like  in  the  forties,  I 


KISTLER:   Yes,  in  the  fifties,  sixties.   When  I  was  on 

Third  and  Carondelet. 

RATNER:   Yes.   What  about  when  you  were  first  starting  out 

in  the  thirties  there? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  got  interested  in  lithography.   My  father 

[William  A.  Kistler]  bought  an  offset  press. 

RATNER:   Right,  we  talked  about  that. 

KISTLER:   And  we  couldn't  get  an  awful  lot  of  information. 

The  craft  was  closed  pretty  well. 

RATNER:   Right,  you  were  telling  me  about  that.   So  when 

you  were  able  to  entice  the  artists  to  work,  to  get  them 

interested  in  lithography  during  the  thirties,  were  they 

working  right  in  your  studio,  or  were  you  taking  the  things 

to  them? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  didn't  have  a  studio  to  start  with.   It 

was  my  father's  business.   My  first  impulse  was  to  learn 

more  about  lithography  and  find  out  about  it.   I  couldn't 


get  information  on  it,  and  we  had  a  lot  of  misinformation. 
We  had  workmen  that  had  secrets  that  if  we  lost  the 
workmen,  why,  we  lost  our  ability  to  produce  work.   So  the 
time  that  my  father  got  into  lithography  was  a  time  in 
which  there  was  a  conversion  being  made.   There's  two 
things  that  had  happened:   there  had  been  an  offset  press 
invented,  which  made  high-speed  production  possible,  and 
there  was  a  tremendous  step  forward  in  photography,  in  the 
accuracy  with  which  they  could  make  negatives.   Whereas 
they  used  to  have  to  do  a  lot  of  staging  and  etching  and 
photoengraving  and  a  lot  of  handwork  on  the  negatives  and 
on  the  plates  to  make  them,  they  got  the  negatives  to  the 
point  where  they  could  take  a  photograph  or  anything  and 
they  could  make  a  halftone  of  it  and  just  print  it  directly 
on  the  metal  and  not  have  to  do  a  lot  of  handwork  on  it. 
When  they  got  to  that  point,  why,  then  it  was  applicable  to 
the  lithography.   It  wasn't  possible  to  do  that  before 
because  you  couldn't  work  by  hand  on  the  lithograph 
negatives  to  correct  them  if  it  needed  correcting.   When 
they  got  to  the  point  where  they  could  put  the  subject  up 
and  photograph  it  and  make  a  halftone  and  get  an  accurate 
reproduction  without  a  lot  of  excess  handwork,  why,  then 
they  could  go  ahead  and  apply  lithography  to  general 
printing.   When  we  got  to  the  point  where  we  could  do 
halftone  work,  why,  then  we  could  expand  into  the 


letterpress  market,  and  we  converted  a  lot  of  the 
letterpress  work  to  lithography. 

So,  in  order  to  understand  the  situation  from  start  to 
finish,  I  went  clear  back  and  got  books  on  lithography,  the 
few  that  existed,  which  probably--  The  Fuchs  and  Lang 
[Manufacturing  Company]  book  on  lithography  [The  Invention 
of  Lithography]  was  just  about  all  that  was  available  in 
English,  and  one  or  two  English  books  that  were  available 
that  I  had  access  to.   I  got  stones  and  just  started  in 
working.   And  then  I  would  go  out  to--  I  was  doing  sales 
work  at  that  time,  and  I'd  go  to  the  advertising  agencies 
and  people  who  were  doing  artwork  and  I  would  talk  to  them 
about  it.   I  would  get  them  to  sketch  on  the  zinc  plates  at 
first,  and  then  I  commenced  to  get  stones  and-- 
RATNER:   So  you  brought  the  stones  and  the  plates  to  the 

KISTLER:   Yes.   They  would  make  drawings  on  the  plates  or 
the  stones,  and  I  would  print  them  and  would  give  them  ten 
copies  and  keep  ten  copies  for  myself.   I  got  so  interested 
in  it  that  I  finally  bought  material,  bought  equipment,  and 
took  it  out  to  my  home  and  worked  in  my  garage.   I'd  get 
home  at  night  and  work  for  a  couple  of  hours  after  I  got 
home,  and  I'd  put  in  my  Saturdays  and  Sundays  making 
lithographs.   A  lot  of  the  work  was  done  for  nothing.   I 
couldn ' t  charge  for  the  work  that  I  was  doing  when  I  was 


printing  it  at  my  home,  because  it  was  in  a  residential 

district  and  the  people  objected  to  it.   So  the  only  way 

that  I'd  get  by  was  to  just  print  and  give  the  artist  some 

of  the  prints  and  keep  some  myself. 

RATNER:   I  see. 

KISTLER:   That  was  the  only  way  that  I  worked  for  two  or 

three  years.   A  good  many  of  the  things  that  I  made  for 

Jean  Chariot,  the  first  ones,  were  done  that  way. 

RATNER:   After  you  had  been  printing  for  a  little  while,  I 

guess,  you  began  using  your  chop,  which  is  a  stylized  "LK" 

in  a  circle.   Do  you  remember  when  you  began  to  use  that? 

KISTLER:   Well,  that  was  after  I  established  the  studio  at 

Third  and  Carondelet. 

RATNER:   Oh,  so  that  was  later. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  that  was  later.   That  was  in  the  forties  and 


RATNER:   Who  designed  that? 

KISTLER:   Well,  the  Marsh  Art  Service  drew  it  for  me.   I'd 

laid  it  out.   I  told  them  what  I  wanted,  and  it  just  kind 

of  evolved. 

RATNER:   How  unusual  was  it  to  use  a  chop  at  that  time? 

KISTLER:   Well,  there  had  been  some  artists  that  had  used 

it,  but  they  hadn't  made  a  real  practice  of  it.   I  was  the 

one  that  got  it  started  and  got  it  going.   There  was  nobody 

else  that  was  doing  it  regularly  that  I  know  of. 


RATNER:   Did  anybody  raise  objections  to  your  using  it,  any 
of  the  artists  or  anything? 

KISTLER:   No,  none  of  them.   They  were  glad  to  have  the 
chop  on  there. 

RATNER:   Okay.   Also,  just  to  jump  back  to  the  thirties  a 
little  bit,  I  was  wondering  how  aware  you  were  of  the 
activities  and  efforts  of  the  New  York-based  Associated 
American  Artists,  particularly  during  the  thirties.   In 
doing  some  research--I  think  it  was  during  the  thirties--! 
noticed  that  you  printed  some  lithographs  for  them,  and  I 
wondered  how  that  all  happened. 

KISTLER:   Well,  that  came  through  Jean  Chariot.   It  was 
Jean  Chariot's  prints  that  I  did.   He  was  out  here,  and 
they  wanted  him  to  make  lithographs,  and  they  sent  the 
order  out  here.   Jean  drew  them  on  the  stone,  and  I  printed 
them  and  sent  them  back  to  New  York.   That's  the  way  that  I 
got  that.   He  was  the  only  one  that  I  ever  printed  for  for 
the  Associated  American  Artists.   Most  of  that  work  was 
done  in  the  East.   Millard  [Sheets]  had  been  in  business 
for  quite  a  while  at  that  time. 

RATNER:   I  know  part  of  their  idea  during  the  thirties  was-- 
I  guess  they  were  maybe  the  first  group  to  start  packaging 
and  marketing  prints.   I  read  that  they  wanted  to  market 
them  through  department  stores  and  mail  subscriptions  and 
that  they  really  believed  that  there  was  a  market  for  the 


$5  print.   I  wondered  at  the  time  how  you  felt  about  that 
whole  concept . 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  thought  that  $5  was  pretty  low  for  the 
prints.   We  had  to  compete  with  them,  of  course.   But  it 
was  a  lot  of  work  to  do.   When  you  figure  that  the  artists 
today  are  getting  $5  and  $10  apiece  just  for  pulling  one 
print--  We  had  to  print  prints  for  as  low  as  fifty  cents 
apiece  for  Associated  American  Artists.   They  were  taking 
advantage  of  the  situation  amongst  the  lithographers  to  get 
a  low  price.   I  think  that  that  is  the  reason  that  it 
didn't  work  out,  because  they  didn't  make  the  prints 
valuable  enough.   They  didn't  put  a  high  enough  price  on 
them.   Gee  whiz,  just  hinky-dink  artists  today  get  $200  and 
$300  for  one  print. 
RATNER:   At  least. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   All  of  them  think  that  they  ought  to  have 
more  than  that,  too.   But,  gee,  we  were  selling  prints  for 
$5  and  $10.   The  prices  were  too  low  and  there  wasn't  a 
high  enough  value  placed  on  the  work.   There  is  a  print 
right  there- - 
RATNER:   The  Chariot? 

KISTLER:   Chariot,  yes.   Chariot  priced  that  print  at  about 
ten  dollars,  and  the  last  price  that  I  saw  on  it  was 
$600.   This  print  here  of  Macdonald-Wright ,  that  print,  the 
last  price  I  saw  on  it  was  about  $1,750. 


RATNER:   So  they've  gone  up  a  lot.   Prices  have  escalated. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   This  print  of  Millard  Sheets,  I  think  I 

sold  that  for  $1,200.   I  don't  know  what  price  is  on  it 

now.   But  we  didn't  value  the  work  high  enough.   That  was 

the  trouble.   And  there  was  some  beautiful  work  done. 

RATNER:   How  much  impact  do  you  feel  the  Depression  had  on 

the  fact  that  people  weren't  buying  prints  during  the 


KISTLER:   [laughter]   I  think  that  lithography  took  a 

beating  along  with  the  rest  of  the  things- - 

RATNER:   Right,  it  would  seem  like  that  would  happen. 

KISTLER:   Yeah.   People  didn't  buy  more  prints  because  they 

were  cheaper  and  they  could  afford  them.   All  of  us  had 

difficulties  with  money  at  that  time.   Things  were  cheap. 

You  have  no  idea  how  cheap  things  were,  how  inexpensive  it 

was  to  live  in  those  days,  back  in  the  thirties. 

LELAH  KISTLER:   She  wasn't  alive  then. 

RATNER:   No.   [laughter]   Just  from  reading  my  history. 

KISTLER:   We  used  to  get  a  hot  dog  or  a  hamburger  for 

fifteen  cents.   A  dime  for  a  hot  dog  or  fifteen  cents  for  a 

hamburger.   You  can  imagine  that--  [laughter]  They  get  four 

dollars  and  five  dollars  for  just  one  hamburger  today.   Of 

course,  they  fancy  them  up  a  little  bit,  but  there  isn't  a 

difference  there,  I  can  tell  you.   [laughter] 

RATNER:   I  also  wanted  to  ask  you  what  you  knew  about  a 


group  called  the  California  Printmakers.   Does  that  ring  a 


KISTLER:   Well,  I  just  knew  of  them.   That  was  all.   I  had 

some  of  them  that  worked  on  this--  I  can't  recall  a  lot  of 

these  names  now.   [inaudible]   Los  Angeles  Art  Association 

is  what  I  was  thinking  of. 

RATNER:   And  that  was  a  print  gallery? 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

LELAH  KISTLER:   They  were  on  325  North  La  Cienega  Boulevard. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  they  were  right  next  door  to  Jake  Zeitlin. 

Helen  Wurdemann  was  really  a--  She  contributed  an  awful  lot 

to  the  print  world  here,  the  promotion  of  it  and 

everything.   Do  you  know  her?   Do  you  remember? 

RATNER:   No.   As  I  said,  in  doing  the  research  I  know  that 

I  came  across  that  name,  because  it  sounded  familiar.   But 

there  was  very  little  information  on  her.   That's  why  it 

didn't  stick  with  me. 

KISTLER:   I  think  that  she  would  be  a  very  good  one  to  do. 

RATNER:   Is  she  still  alive,  do  you  know? 

KISTLER:   The  last  that  I  heard.   I  hadn't  heard  that  she 

passed  away.   No. 

RANIER:   I  was  asking  about  that  group,  the  California 

Printmakers,  because  I  know  in  doing  the  research  I  came 

across  something  about  the  Cleveland  Print  Club,  which,  I 

guess,  was  one  of  the  most  famous  print  clubs  for  selling 


subscriptions  and  having  works  printed  by  very  well  known 
artists.   I  just  wondered--  I  couldn't  find  anything  about 
the  California  Printmakers,  and  I  wondered  if  they  did 
anything  similar  to  that,  you  know,  whether  you  had  printed 
anything  for  them. 

KISTLER:   No.   They  were  just  a  group  of  artists,  and  they 
were  mostly  etchers. 
RATNER:   I  see. 

KISTLER:   Let's  see,  there's  one  girl  that's  still--  I  can't 
remember  her  name.   Gee,  I'm  sorry  that  I'm  so  fuzzy  about 
these  names.   If  you  had  been  in  touch  with  me  a  couple  of 
years  ago,  I  could  have  given  them  all  to  you,  but  I  just 
cannot  recall  a  lot  of  them  now.   [tape  recorder  off] 

And  then  here,  this  is  a  book  of  prints  that  I  think  I 
sold  to  Lord. 
RATNER:   Jack  Lord? 
KISTLER:   Jack  Lord. 

RATNER:   And  those  are  the  things  that  went  to  the 
Smithsonian  [Institution]? 
KISTLER:   I  think  so. 

RATNER:   Okay.   Well,  that  will  be  a  good  thing  to  go  over 
later,  maybe  at  the  time  you  sold  those.   You  didn't  sell 
those  till  like  the  sixties  or  seventies,  right? 
KISTLER:   Yes,  that's  correct. 


JANUARY  10,  1989 

KISTLER:   --Southern  California  something.   I  can't  recall 

just  what  it  is  now. 

RATNER:   That's  the  Los  Angeles  Art  Association,  run  by 

Helen  Wurdemann?   You  were  just  mentioning  Stephen 

Longstreet.   He  was  involved  with  that? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  think  that  he  is  president  now,  or  had 

been  for  the  last  four  or  five  years.   But  that  has  been  a 

print  gallery  principally. 

RATNER:   And  so  you  showed  your  work  there  also? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  showed  my  work  there  and  other  galleries, 

the  Dalzell  Hatfield  Gallery  and  there  were  some  other 

galleries  I  can't  remember.   There's  a  gallery  out  in 

Beverly  Hills  that-- 

RATNER:   I  know  a  number  opened  in  Beverly  Hills  in  the 

forties.   There  were  a  lot  more  galleries  then.   But  I  just 

wanted  to  go  ahead  and  finish  up  the  thirties,  if  that  was 

okay.   Because  one  thing  that  you  spent  a  lot  of  time  doing 

during  the  thirties  was  printing  books  with  Merle  Armitage. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   I  thought  maybe  we  could  talk  a  little  bit  more 

about  that.   There  apparently  was  an  exhibition  of  the 

books  that  you  printed  in  1975  at  Cal[ifornia]  State 

University,  Northridge.   They  put  together  a  catalog.   So  I 


have  a  copy  of  that  here  with  a  list  of  the  various  books 
that  you  did.   Although  you  printed  beyond  the  thirties,  it 
seems  like  the  majority  of  the  books  that  you  printed  with 
Merle  Armitage,  in  particular,  were  done  in  the  thirties. 
So  I  thought  if  it  was  okay  with  you,  I'd  just  ask  you 
about  some  of  the  books,  and  you  could  tell  me  what  you 
remembered  about  printing  those  or  if  there  was  anything 
particularly  special  about  the  books.   I  know  last  time  we 
talked  about  the  first  book  you  did  with  Merle  Armitage, 
which  was  The  Work  of  Maier-Krieg. 
KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   How  did  that  whole  project,  the  very  first  one, 
come  into  being? 

KISTLER:   Well,  Merle  Armitage  was  the  manager  of  the  Los 
Angeles  Grand  Opera  Company.   I  had  a  friend  by  the  name  of 
Carl  Haverlin,  who  is  a  lifelong  friend.   He  was  quite 
active  around  town.   He  worked  for  me  for  a  while  as  a 
salesman.   He  called  on  Merle.   He's  the  one  that 
introduced  me  to  Merle,  brought  Merle  down  to  my  place  and 
showed  him  what  we  were  doing  and  the  fact  that  we  had  put 
in  an  offset  press  and  that  we  were  a  progressive  firm  and 
trying  to  get  ahead  in  the  world.   So  Merle  was  interested 
in  designing  books.   He  designed,  I  guess,  some  hundred 
different  books,  and  I  printed  about  fifty  of  them.   I 
printed  the  first  ones.   I  printed  Eugen  Maier-Krieg  and 


the  work  of  Richard  Day  [The  Lithographs  of  Richard  Day] . 
He  was  interested,  too,  in  the  fact  that  we  could  print  by 
offset  rather  than  by  letterpress.   I  had  three  of  the 
books  that  were  accepted  as  Fifty  Books  of  the  Year  [by  the 
American  Institute  of  Graphic  Arts] .   The  first  Picture 
Book  was  one  that  we  printed  by  offset.   It  was  done  in 
from  four  to  eight  colors.   There  were  thirty- two  pictures, 
mostly  material  from  Mexico.   Jean  Chariot  had  just  come  up 
from  Mexico,  where  he  had  been  making  sketches  of  the  stone 
work  at  Chichen  Itza.   He  came  to  Los  Angeles  here  and  met 
Merle  Armitage,  and  Merle  Armitage  brought  him  into  my 
place.   That  way  we  got  started  on  it,  and  that's  the  way  I 
got  started  on  the  books  of  Merle's.   We  felt  as  though  we 
were  taking  a  step  forward  in  printing  books  that  were  hand 
drawn  and  also  printed  by  lithography  rather  than 
letterpress.   Because  up  to  that  time,  practically  all  book 
work  was  done  by  letterpress  rather  than  lithography. 
Lithography  at  that  time  had  degenerated  into  box  labels 
and  things  of  that  sort.   Stationery  and  fruit-crate 
labels.   There's  quite  a  collection  on  those,  too.   There's 
been  a  lot  of  work  done  on  those  box  labels  and  been  quite 
an  interest  in  them,  too. 

RATNER:   So  when  you  and  Merle  Armitage  would  get  together 
to  work  on  a  book,  for  example,  what  was  your  part  in  the 
whole  process?   Did  he  make  all  the  aesthetic  decisions 


ahead  of  time,  or  how  involved  were  you  with  that? 
KISTLER:   Well,  I  would  work  along  with  him.   We'd  consult 
together  just  what  type  we  were  going  to  use  and  how  we 
were  going  to  set  it.   The  format  was  very  often  left  to 
me.   I  would  make  up  a  dummy.   Then  Merle  would  sketch  out 
the  way  that  he  thought  it  ought  to  be,  and  I  would 
interpret  it  and  type.   My  father  had  a  very  fine 
collection  of  type.   We  had  one  of  the  best  type 
collections  in  the  city.   I  had  quite  a  bit  of  latitude  in 
what  we  could  do  with  putting  type  together  in  various 
ways.   Merle  would  make  a  sketch  of  it,  and  I  would  make 
the  type  and  the  size  in  the  way  that  it  was  to  be  set  and 
oversee  that  it  was  set  properly  for  the  book. 
RATNER:   So  it  was  a  real  collaboration? 
KISTLER:   It  was  a  collaboration,  yes. 

RATNER:   I  think  it  was  the  third  book,  at  least  according 
to  this  catalog,  that  you  printed  with  Merle  Armitage  that 
was  one  of  the  ones  you  mentioned  that  was  one  of  the 
American  Institute  of  Graphic  Arts'  Fifty  Books  of  the 
Year.   That  was  on  Warren  Newcombe? 
KISTLER:   Yes.   [Warren  Newcombe] 

RATNER:   And  that  had  a  photograph  of  Newcombe  by  Edward 
Weston,  it  looks  like. 
KISTLER:   Yes. 
RATNER:   What  do  you  remember  about  that  project? 


KISTLER:   Well,  Newcombe  was  an  employee  at  the  Metro- 
Goldwyn-Mayer  company.   He  had  a  studio  there,  and  he  had  a 
key  to  it.   I  think  I  told  you  this  before. 
RATNER:   No. 

KISTLER:   He  had  his  own  studio  at  Metro-Goldwyn.   He  is 
the  man  that  worked  out  this  proposition  where--  They  had 
to  have  a  scene  on,  say,  the  capitol  steps.   Of  course, 
they  couldn't  build  the  whole  thing,  but  they  would  have  to 
make  a  set  of  maybe  the  steps.   Then  they  would  take  a 
picture  of  the  capitol.   They  would  photograph  each  one  of 
those  separately  and  put  them  together.   It  would  be  the 
actual  top  of  the  capitol,  and  they  would  fit  the  other 
material  that  they  needed  for  the  lower  half.   They  would 
make  a  set  of  that.   They  would  put  those  together,  believe 
it  or  not,  all  of  the  columns  and  everything  fitting.   If 
they  happened  to  cut  them  in  half  or  anything  like  that,  it 
would  come  perfect.   You  wouldn't  be  able  to--  You  couldn't 
tell  because  they--  And  they  still  do  it,  I  think.   They 
just  build  a  part  of  the  set  and  then  take  a  picture  of 
something  else  and  fit  the  lower  part  with  a  motion  picture 
set.   Isn't  that  amazing? 

RATNER:   It  is.   I  didn't  realize  it  was  done  like  that. 
KISTLER:   So  that  was  the  kind  of  man  that  Warren  Newcombe 
was.   He  was  the  one  that  worked  it  out.   Metro-Goldwyn 
valued  his  work  and  everything,  but  they  failed  to  renew 


his  contract  when  it  came  due.   So  when  he  didn't  have  a 
new  contract,  he  had  the  only  keys  to  this  studio,  and  he 
just  walked  away.   They  didn't  know  where  he'd  gone  or 
anything.   Metro-Goldwyn  closed  down  for  two  weeks  because 
they  didn ' t  know  where  Warren  Newcombe  had  gone  or  why  or 
how  to  get  ahold  of  him  or  what  to  do,  and  they  didn't  have 
the  keys  to  the  place.   They  didn't  have  anybody  that 
understood  it  if  they  did  have  the  keys.   So  they  were  good 
boys  when  he  came  back.   [laughter]   He  got  his  contract 
amended.   They  didn't  neglect  to  sign  him  up. 
RATNER:   And  get  an  extra  copy  of  the  keys.   [laughter] 
KISTLER:   No,  they  never  got  an  extra  copy  of  the  key.   But 
the  method  is  generally  known  now. 

RATNER:   There's  a  little  picture  on  here  of  the  cover  of 
that  particular  book.   Then  at  the  bottom,  I  guess,  it  was 
published  by-- 
KISTLER:   E.  Weyhe. 

RATNER:   I  came  across  their  name  a  lot  in  association  with 
your  work  with  Armitage.   What--? 

KISTLER:   Well,  Weyhe  handled  the  books  in  New  York. 
Armitage  had  an  agreement  with  E.  Weyhe,  and  he  worked  with 
E.  Weyhe.   E.  Weyhe  sold  a  lot  of  books  that  we  printed 
together.   I  don't  know  where  Merle  got  the  money,  but  he 
always  came  up  with  enough  to--  That  was  the  principal 
thing,  as  far  as  we  were  concerned,  [laughter]  getting  the 


books  paid  for.   Then  we  collaborated  on  the  printing  of 

the  books  and  the  design.   We  collaborated  on  that.   We  did 

the  printing. 

RATNER:   So  there  were  five  hundred  copies  of  that  one 


KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   It  seems  like  a  lot  of  books.   Was  it  a  lot  of 

books?   I  mean,  for  somebody--  How  well  known  was  Warren 

Newcombe  that  they  would  have  been  able  to  sell  five 

hundred  books? 

KISTLER:   Well,  you've  got  something  there.   [laughter] 

Five  hundred  books  proved  to  be  an  awful  lot.   The  first 

Picture  Book,  before  we  got  through,  we  had  sold  a  good 

many  of  them. 

RATNER:   Then  here's  another  one,  also  from  1932--you  were 

busy  that  year — The  Art  of  Edward  Weston.   [laughter] 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   And  that  was  also  distributed  by  this  E.  Weyhe. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   It  had  thirty-nine  plates? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   We  printed  that  to  letterpress.   I've 

forgotten  just  how  many  reproductions  of  Edward  Weston's 

work--  About  thirty  or  forty  reproductions  of  his  work.   It 

was  one  of  the  finest  letterpress,  halftone  jobs  that  had 

been  done. 


RATNER:   This  particular  book  was  inscribed,  too.   It  says, 
"Inscribed  to  L.  K. ,  a  real  craftsman.   Ever  since  we  first 
met,  I  knew  that  no  effort  would  be  spared  to  make  this 
book  a  splendid  work.   In  gratitude,  Edward." 
KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   That's  nice.   So  what  do  you  remember  about 
working  with  Edward  Weston?   I  guess  you  printed  two  books 
of  his  work? 
KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   But  what  do  you  remember  about  that  first 
experience?   He  obviously  was  very  happy  with  you. 
KISTLER:   Yes.   Well,  it  was  an  unusual  thing.   It  was  a 
large  book.   I  think  it  was  12"  X  16"  in  size,  something 
like  that  in  size.   It  was  one  of  the  Fifty  Books  of  the 
Year.   It  was  the  finest  reproduction  of  Edward  Weston's 
work  that  had  been  done  at  that  time.   He  was  very  much 
pleased  with  it. 

It  took  us  a  whole  week  to  get  the  first  form 
printed.   We  just  printed  two  illustrations  at  the  time. 
It  was  quite  a  long  job.   It  took  a  lot  of  skillful  work. 
We  had  worked  out  a  couple  of  blocks  of  metal  that  we 
thought  would  anchor  the  thing  right  so  that  there  couldn't 
possibly  be  any  difficulty  about  printing  it  at  all.   We 
found  out,  when  we  got  started,  that  we  couldn't  get  it  to 
print.   It  took  us  a  whole  week.   We  worked  on  it.   We 


would  get  streaks  in  it  and  we  didn't  know  why.   We  thought 
maybe  the  blocks  were  rocking,  you  know.   But  inasmuch  as 
we  had  metal  foundations  for  them--and  blocks  are  usually 
mounted  on  wood,  you  know- -we  thought  that  there  would  just 
be  no  chance  of  getting  any  slur  in  them  at  all.   So  we 
were  just  about  to  give  up  on  the  thing  because  we  couldn't 
get  the  streaks  out  of  it.   A  pressman  came  in  on  Friday 
afternoon.   He  wanted  to  know  if  he  could  get  a  job.   So  we 
told  him  that  we  had  a  problem  and  if  he  could  solve  it, 
why,  he'd  have  a  job.   He  went  back  and  he  worked  for  a 
little  while  and  got  the  press  all  set  up  and  the  ink  all 
set  and  everything.   Then  he  went  and  got  a  gasoline  can, 
and  he  poured  it  on  these  plates  that  we  had.   He  lit  the 
gasoline,  and  it  heated  those  plates,  and  they  printed. 
RATNER:   My  goodness!   You  must  have  been  surprised. 
KISTLER:   Well,  we  were  certainly  relieved  after  that, 
because  we  had  a  lot  of  money  tied  up  in  the  cuts.   We'd 
had  the  cuts  made  already,  the  plates  made.   Los  Angeles 
Engraving  Company  furnished  the  plates.   We  gave  them 
credit  for  it,  and  they  were  glad  to  do  it.   About  thirty- 
two  plates,  and  they  were  about  the  actual  size  of  Edward's 
work.   They  were  very  fussy  in  working  out  Edward's  work, 
because  in  photographing,  Edward  didn't  have  small  films 
that  he  enlarged.   All  of  his  work  is  photographed  on 
negatives  the  same  size  as  the  photographic  print  that  he 


makes  from  them.   He  just  does  it  complete.   So  they're  all 
big  negatives.   None  of  these  small  negatives  or 
anything.   It  was  really  quite  an  accomplishment  all  the 
way  through:   working  it  out,  getting  a  plate  company  that 
would  make  the  plates  for  us,  and  also  printing  them  after 
we  got  them  made.   We  were  afraid  we  weren't  going  to  be 
able  to  print  them,  they  were  so  large.   We  had  excellent 
equipment,  too,  and  we  had  a  very  good  pressman  outside  of 
this  man  that  came  in.   But  this  man  that  came  in  was  just 
an  itinerant  printer  and  had  run  into  trouble  like  that 
before.   Just  put  a  little  gasoline  on  it,  on  each  one  of 
the  plates,  and  then  he  would  light  it.   It  would  get  warm, 
and  he  would  start  his  press  and  get  his  job  off.   So 
there ' s  more  than  one  way  to  skin  a  cat  in  the  printing 

RATNER:   Yeah,  that's  a  great  story.   [laughter] 
KISTLER:   We  were  amazed.   My  father  had  been  at  the 
business  for  thirty-five  years  at  that  time,  and  I  knew  a 
little  bit  about  printing  then,  but  there's  always  a  new 
trick  in  the  printing  business.   There's  always  some  way  to 
overcome  difficulties  that  you  have.   So  that  the  printing 
of  the  Edward  Weston  book  was  quite  an  accomplishment.   It 
was  quite  a  triumph  when  we  got  it  done.   And  it  became  one 
of  the  Fifty  Books  of  the  Year. 
RATNER:   So  two  of  the  books  you  printed  that  year--which 


was  the  first  year  it  looks  like  you  printed  books --became 

one  of  the  Fifty  Books  of  the  Year.   Because  Warren 

Newcombe  was  printed  in  ' 32  and  the  Edward  Weston  book  was 

printed  in  '32. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   So  that  was  quite  a  way  to  begin. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   That's  great.   Another  book  you  printed  in  '32  was 

on  Rockwell  Kent  [Rockwell  Kent] . 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   This  one  says,  "Printed  under  the  supervision  of 

Lynton  Kistler, "  whereas  the  other  ones  have  said,  "Printed 

by."   What  was  the  difference  there? 

KISTLER:   Gee,  I  don't  think  there  was  any  difference, 

really.   It  was  printed  by  lithography. 

RATNER:   How  well  did  you  know  Rockwell  Kent? 

KISTLER:   I  never  met  him.   He  was  one  of  Merle  Armitage's 

customers,  one  of  the  people  that  Merle  Armitage  admired. 

He  wanted  to  do  a  book  on  Rockwell  Kent. 

RATNER:   Okay.   We  talked  about  the  Picture  Book  last 

time.   Then  another  one  that  was  done  in  '33  was  the  work 

of  Henrietta  Shore. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   [laughter]   Well,  that  was  an  amusing 

situation,  too.   We  had  all  of  the  plates  on  Henrietta 

Shore's  book  [Henrietta  Shore]  made.   Jean  Chariot  came  to 


town  at  that  time.   It  was  when  we  first  contacted  Jean 
Chariot.   The  Henrietta  Shore  book  was  one  of  Merle 
Armitage's  babies.   Jean  Chariot  saw  the  work  that  we  were 
doing  then  on  it  and  he  said,  "Well,  I'd  like  to  make  the 
frontispiece  for  it. "   So  there  was  a  frontispiece  added  to 
this  book  by  Jean  Chariot,  and  Henrietta  Shore  didn't  know 
anything  about  it  at  all.   He  did  a  portrait  of  Henrietta 
Shore.   It  was  a  modern  version  and  did  nothing  to 
compliment  Henrietta  Shore's  looks.   She  was  furious  when 
she  saw  this  thing.   There  are  only  two  hundred  of  those 
books  printed.   She  became  reconciled  to  it  finally,  but  it 
raised  quite  a  ruckus  for  a  while  when  it  was  published. 
RATNER:   She  was  a  local  artist? 

KISTLER:   No.   She  was  of  that  group  up  there  in  Carmel . 
RATNER:   Okay.   Then  how  about  another  one  from  1934?   That 
was--I  was  just  curious--a  book  called  Elise.   Was  that 
Armitage's  wife  at  the  time? 
KISTLER:   Yes.   [Elise  Cavanna  Seeds] 

RATNER:   So  now  he's  only  printing  the  books  in  copies  of 
two  hundred.   I  guess  maybe-- 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Well,  some  of  them  are  more  or  less 
promotional  work,  you  know?   On  the  record,  there  were 
people  that  hadn't  pushed  to  made  a  big  splash,  but  their 
work  needed  promotional  work,  and  that  was  one  way  to 
promote  it. 


RATNER:   You  said  you  don't  know  how  he  was  able  to  finance 

all  these  projects. 

KISTLER:   Well,  he  got  his  friends  to  put  up  the  money  on 

it.   He  was  doing  very  well  himself.   He  was  manager  of  the 

Los  Angeles  Grand  Opera  Company,  and  he  made  a  good  salary 

and  spent  most  of  it  on  this  kind  of  work. 

RATNER:   This  one  also  had  a  portrait  of  Elise.   It  says, 

"Drawn  directly  on  the  zinc  plate  and  hand  colored  by 

Beatrice  Wood." 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Yes,  that's  true.   Elise  and  Beatrice  Wood 

were  good  friends.   They  were  both  screwy  artists. 


RATNER:   And  you  had  both  of  them  included  in  your  show 

that  you  did  at  the  Stendahl  Gallery  ["Impressions  Printed 

by  Hand  from  Stone  and  Zinc  by  Lynton  Kistler  at  the 

Stendahl  Gallery"]. 

KISTLER:   That's  right,  I  did. 

RATNER:   Okay,  here's  one  from  1935  on  Millard  Sheets.   It 

says  "Millard  Sheets  in  Los  Angeles,  Dalzell  Hatfield." 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Well,  Hatfield  put  up  the  money  on  that 


RATNER:   I  see. 

KISTLER:   Of  course,  Dalzell  Hatfield  was  handling  all  of 

his  work  at  that  time,  all  of  Millard  Sheets 's  work.   So  he 

was  glad  to  promote  it  and  put  up--  So  that  was  a  book 


[Millard  Sheets]  that  I  printed  for  Millard  Sheets. 
RATNER:   Had  you  worked  with  Millard  Sheets  prior  to  this? 
KISTLER:   I'm  just  trying  to  think.   Yes,  I  had.   We 
printed  a  great  big  lithograph  in  four  colors.   It  was  one 
of  the  largest  things  I  ever  did.   It  was  printed  on  a 
sheet  35"  X  45"  in  four  colors  for  the  WPA  [Works  Progress 
Administration]  process.   It  was  a  WPA  project.   They  were 
making  work  for  the  artists,  and  Millard  furnished  it.   It 
was  drawn  in  four  colors.   That's  an  awfully  big  plate,  you 
know,  35"  X  45".   I  saw  one  for  sale  up  in  Santa  Rosa  for, 
I  don't  know,  I  think  it  was  $1,200  or  something  like 
that.   It  was  one  of  those  prints  that  we  made  for  the  WPA 
people.   Millard  probably  got  a  couple  of  copies,  and  that 
gallery  [Annex  Gallery]  up  there  was  handling  a  lot  of 
Millard's  work. 

RATNER:   This  particular  copy  that  they  had  in  the 
exhibition  was  inscribed,  "This  copy  for  the  fine  printer 
Ward  Ritchie,  1935,  from  Merle  Armitage."   How  well  did  you 
know  Ward  Ritchie? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  knew  him  very  well.   We  conferred 
together.   We  went  over  each  other's  work  and  were 
interested  in  each  other's  work.   We  get  together  every 
once  in  a  while  and  meet  in  various  places,  have 
meetings.   Ward's  a  very  fine  printer,  a  very  good 
designer,  and  we're  very  good  friends. 


RATNER:   So  there  were  a  thousand  copies  of  Millard 
Sheets ' s  book  printed? 

KISTLER:   Well,  Millard  was  a  little  more  ambitious,  and  I 
think  he  paid  for  printing  on  that.   I've  seen  copies  of 
that  book  for  sale  at  Millard's  shows,  oh,  as  recently  as 
ten  years  ago.   So  he  used  it  for  promotion  for  quite  a 
long  time. 

RATNER:   Was  there  any  text  in  a  book  like  that?   Had  Merle 
Armitage  written  something  about  Millard  Sheets  or--? 
KISTLER:   Yes.   Merle  usually  wrote  an  article  in  each  one 
of  the  books.   He  had  something  to  say  about  it.   He  had  an 
opinion  on  everything  that  there  was.   [laughter] 
RATNER:   So  it  seems.   [laughter] 

KISTLER:   It  was  an  opportunity  for  him  to  express  himself 
and  make  himself  known.   He  was  very  knowledgeable.   He  was 
a  very  active  man  and  into  everything,  acquainted  with 
everybody.   He  knew  everyone  and  was  interested  in  things 
like  grand  opera  and  people  that  were  talented.   Mary 
Garden  was  one  of  his  outstanding--  He  had  the  running  of 
her  productions  for  a  while  and  did  quite  a  bit  of  work  for 
her  and  brought  her  things  to  the  Los  Angeles  area.   You've 
heard  of  her,  presumably,  Mary  Garden?   Never  heard  of 
her?   She  was  as  big  as,  oh,  any  of  the  big  stars  that  you 
have  today. 
RATNER:   She  was  a  singer? 


LELAH  KISTLER:   Grand  opera. 
RATNER:   Grand  opera. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   A  singer.   Mary  Garden.   So  Merle  was 
interested  in  telling  about  these  people.   He  had  some 
weird  experiences  with  them.   One  time,  the  [Los  Angeles] 
Philharmonic  [Orchestra]  was  held  up.   He  had  all  of  the 
cash  in  the  bottom  of  the  drawer  that  he  had  taken  in. 
And,  of  course,  he  had  to  pay  off  the  Philharmonic  and  give 
Mary  Garden  her  cut  on  the  thing  and  pay  all  of  his 
advertising  expenses  and  everything  on  top  of  that. 
Shortly  after  the  show  had  opened,  why,  this  man  came  and 
stuck  a  gun  in  his  ribs.   He  had  put  this  money  in  a  false 
bottom  in  a  drawer.   He  pulled  the  drawer  out  and  he  says, 
"Eh?   There's  nothing  here."   I  don't  know,  there  was  some 
change  or  something  like  that,  a  few  dollars.   This  robber 
took  that.   But  it  was  a  pretty  courageous  thing  to  do,  to 
open  the  drawer  and  say,  "Here,  look.   There's  nothing  in 
there.   You  can  take  it  all  if  you  want  it."   He  said, 
"That  was  sent  to  the  bank  already.   There's  nothing  you 
can  do  about  it."   All  of  his  income  from  this  appearance 
of  this  outstanding  star--  He  had  sold  out  the  house  and 
had  I  don't  know  how  many  thousand  dollars  in  that  bottom 
drawer  that  he  had  to  protect.   The  police  department  told 
him  he  was  silly  for  doing  it,  but  he  was  that  kind  of  a 
guy.   He  got  away  with  whatever  he  was  doing.   [laughter] 


He  didn't  let  anybody  put  anything  over  on  him. 

RATNER:   Okay.   Well,  I  think  we  need  to  wrap  it  up  here 

for  today,  but  we'll  continue  on  talking  about  the  books 

next  time.   You  can  tell  me  any  other  stories  you  remember 

about  Merle  Armitage,  and  then  we'll  go  on  and  talk  about 

Jean  Chariot. 

KISTLER:   All  right. 

RATNER:   Okay? 

KISTLER:   All  right.   I'll  try  to  be  better  prepared. 

RATNER:   No,  you  don't--  You  just  leave  the  work  to  me. 


JANUARY  17,  1989 

RATNER:   When  we  ended  our  last  meeting,  you  were  telling 
me  how  Merle  Armitage  had  been  robbed  when  he  was  working 
at  the  Los  Angeles  Grand  Opera  Company,  and  then  you  said 
that  he  had  had  many  unusual  experiences.   I  was  wondering 
what  you  remember  about  some  of  those  experiences. 
KISTLER:   Well,  I  remember  that  he  had  a  theatrical  company 
come  over  from  Russia  and  land  in  Seattle,  and  they  just 
attached  themselves  to  him.   It  was  one  of  the  most 
remarkable  experiences  that  you  ever  heard  of.   It  was 
completely  unorganized  and  without  finances  at  all,  and  it 
really  created  quite  a  stir  in  the  United  States  here.   It 
was  one  of  the  first  Russian  cultural  things  that  came  to 
this  country.   It  was  very  colorful.   Armitage  was  one  of 
those  men  that  could  take  an  unorganized  thing  with  a  lot 
of  hazards  in  it,  without  finances  and  everything  else.   He 
took  it  throughout  the  United  States,  and  it  made  quite  an 
impress.   It  was  one  of  the  first  cultural  things  from 
Russia  that  we  had  here.   I  didn't  have  anything  to  do  with 
it,  so  it  was  just  one  of  those  stories  he  told  about. 

Most  of  his  things  were  done  without  a  great  deal  of 
organization.   He  took  the  loose  ends  and  put  them  together 
so  that  they  really  were  enjoyed  by  the  people  of  the 
country.   He  took  the  shows  and  people  like  Mary  Garden  and 


others  throughout  the  United  States  and  was  an  impresario 
and  an  outstanding  cultural  developer  on  the  Pacific  Coast 
here.   He  was  responsible  for  the  introduction  of  Edward 
Weston's  work,  and  he  was  very  enthusiastic  about  anyone 
that  he  ran  into  and  any  cultural  thing. 

He  was  very  aggressive  in  helping  me  promote  my 
work.   He  was  very  much  interested  in  the  fact  that  what  I 
was  doing  was  introducing  something  to  this  coast  here  and 
to  the  West.   It  turned  out  to  be  the  United  States,  that 
my  work  got  to  be  known  throughout  the  country.   He  gave  me 
a  lot  of  encouragement  and  a  lot  of  information  on  how  to 
go  about  it,  to  introduce  lithography  to  the  artists.   He 
was  interested  in  artists.   He  knew  many  of  the  working 
artists  and  he  brought  them  into  contact  with  me.   He  also 
did  everything  he  could  to  promote  my  work,  and  he  gave  me 
quite  a  few  things,  like  that  Laura  Knight  and  those  others 
that  we  spoke  about.   He  was  never  heavily  financed 
himself,  I  mean  in  his  own  right,  but  he  was  able  to  get  a 
good  many  people  to  put  up  money  to  have  the  books  printed 
that  he  was  interested  in.   He  did  an  awful  lot  to  promote 
the  work  of  authors  and  things  like  that  and  people  that 
had  accomplished  things.   The  first  book  that  I  did  with 
him  was  Eugen  Maier-Krieg  [The  Work  of  Maier-Krieg] . 
Maier-Krieg  was  a  German  who  came  to  this  country,  and  his 
work  was  outstanding.   Merle  raised  money  to  print  a  book 


which  cost  quite  a  bit,  and  it  was  an  experiment  on  our 
part,  too. 

It  was  the  first  book  that  we  attempted  to  publish  at 
the  Kistler  Company  when  we  put  in  the  lithograph 
equipment.   It  was  really  over  our  heads  in  a  lot  of  ways, 
but  we  had  the  complete  outfit  and  we  had  a  man  with  us  by 
the  name  of  Ludwig  Melzner  who  we  bought  the  lithographic 
equipment  from.   We  had  a  complete  printing  plant  for  the 
conversion  of  all  kinds  of  printed  matter  to  printing  by 
the  lithographic  method,  the  offset  method/lithographic 
method  rather  than  the  letterpress  method.   We  turned  quite 
a  bit  of  our  work  over  into  the  lithographic  method,  and  it 
entailed  a  tremendous  amount  of  information  that  was  not 
available,  only  through  our  workmen  and  one  or  two  books 
that  were  available. 

The  lithographic  work  had  become  almost  a  label 
business  entirely.   By  the  time  that  we  got  into  it,  it  had 
become  offset  lithography,  and  they  had  dispensed  with  the 
stone  work,  except  that  they  would  put  an  original  on  stone 
and  then  they  would  pull  transfers  from  that  and  stick  a 
lot  of  them  up  on  a  plate.   It  was  used  more  for  printing 
labels  and  colors.   It  was  used  also  for  printing  of 
stationery.   Now,  that  was  about  the  extent  of  the 
lithographic  work  when  it  came  into  our  hands.   The  people 
who  were  established  in  the  lithographic  work  in  Los 


Angeles--  There  was  the  Neuner  Stationery  Company  and  there 
was  the  Los  Angeles  Lithograph  Company.   The  Neuner 
lithograph  company,  they  didn't  attempt  to  convert  ordinary 
printed  matter  to  the  offset  lithograph  method. 

Ludwig  Melzner  didn't  have  the  financing  to  carry  his 
work  on.   He  had  a  lithograph  press  and  he  had  a  camera  and 
all  the  facilities  that  went  with  the  method  of 
lithography,  and  we  depended  upon  him  for  the  information, 
the  initial  information.   We  expanded  our  work  so  that  we 
made  our  plates  in  the  plant  and  did  all  of  the  operations 
that  were  necessary  for  the  lithographic  business.   In  the 
printing  business  we  bought  our  printing  plates  out.   It 
was  done  by  photoengraving.   But  the  lithography  allowed  us 
to  go  ahead  and  convert  ordinary  printing  into--  Well,  to 
produce  ordinary  printing  by  the  offset  lithograph 
method.   It  was  due  to  the  fact  that  photography  had 
developed  to  quite  an  extent.   There  had  been  a  lot  of 
improvement  in  the  quality  of  negatives  that  we  get.   But 
there  was  a  lot  that  we  needed  to  know  besides  what  we 
could  get  out  of  our  workmen,  which  was  available  from 
talking  to  others  that  had  lithographic  equipment.   But  we 
went  ahead  and  actually  converted  a  lot  of  printed  matter 
to  the  offset  lithographic  method.   This  book  of  Eugen 
Maier-Krieg ' s,  it  was  a  book  of  his  sculpturing.   He  was 
one  of  the  outstanding  sculptors  of  that  particular 


period.  His  work  was  fairly  well  known,  and  the  book 
itself  created  quite  a  sensation,  because  it  came  out 

We  could  do  a  lot  of  things  with  lithography  that  we 
couldn't  do  very  well  with  letterpress  printing. 
Letterpress  printing  might--  If  we  had  halftone  work,  why, 
we  had  to  use  a  very  smooth,  slick-coated  paper.   With  the 
offset  lithography,  why,  we  could  print  on  papers  that  were 
rough  and  papers  that  were  antiques  and  things  like  that. 
It  made  it  possible  to  do  a  lot  of  very  creative  work. 
Also,  the  fact  that  we  could  make  our  own  plates  allowed  us 
quite  a  bit  of  latitude,  because  you  could  actually  stand 
over  them  and  see  what  was  being  done.   But  we  did  need  a 
lot  of  information  that  wasn't  available  to  us  through 
books  or  through  our  workmen,  so  I  undertook  to  go  back 
clear  to  the  stone  printing  and  research  it  and  build  it  up 
and  see  the  steps  it  had  gone  through  in  order  to  bring  it 
to  the  point  of  offset  lithography. 

RATNER:   I  was  wondering,  then,  how  long  did  it  take  to 
print  the  Maier-Krieg  book?   I  mean,  from  the  beginning  of 
the  project  to  the  end,  since  it  was  the  first  one,  was  it 
a  rather  lengthy  process? 

KISTLER:   Well,  it  was  in  the  plant  a  month  or  maybe  a 
month  and  a  half. 
RATNER:   And  was  that  about  average  or--? 


KISTLER:   Yes,  yes,  it  was.   I  don't  know  whether  I  told 

you  that  [Jean  Chariot]  was  just  back  from  Mexico-- 

RATNER:   Right,  we  talked  about  that  last  time.   We  got 

that  on  tape. 

KISTLER:   Yeah,  yeah.   And  the  making  of  Picture  Book. 

RATNER:   Right,  we  talked  about  that.   We  talked  about  a 

number  of  the  books  that  you  printed  during  the  early 

thirties,  but  we  didn't  talk  about  all  of  the  books  that  I 

wanted  to  talk  about,  so  I  thought  maybe  we  could  go  on  and 

continue  talking  about  some  of  the  books  that  you  printed 

with  Merle  Armitage.   Another  one  I  wanted  to  ask  you  about 

was  called  [Giovanni]  Napolitano;  Fifteen  Reproductions  of 

His  Work. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   What  do  you  recall  about  that?   What  kind  of  an 

artist  was  he? 

KISTLER:   Well,  he  was  a  muralist  and  a  working  artist  and 

not  very  well  known.   The  book  that  we  printed  for  him  was 

a  rather  small  one,  and  it  was  done  in  one  color.   It 

wasn't  as  elaborate  as  the  book  that  we  printed  for  Maier- 

Krieg.   The  format  was  smaller,  and  it  was  only  done  in  one 

color.   It  was  done  to  promote  Napolitano 's  work. 

RATNER:   How  did  Armitage  select  him  as  a  candidate  for  a 


KISTLER:   Well,  Armitage  selected  him  the  way  he  selected 


me:   he  liked  his  work  and  he  liked  his  approach. 

Napolitano's  approach  to  his  sculpturing  was  unusual.   He 

had  an  unusual  presentation  of  his  work.   He  had  an  unusual 

style,  and  his  background  loaned  it  to  an  unusual 


RATNER:   Where  was  his  home  base? 

KISTLER:   Los  Angeles. 

RATNER:   Los  Angeles. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  he  was  a  Los  Angeles  man.   He's  still 

living,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  and  he  has  quite  a  few  of  the 

Armitage  books.   I  don't  believe  that  there  are  very  many 

of  the  first  Picture  Book  left,  because  quite  a  few  of  them 

were  destroyed. 

RATNER:   Oh,  really? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   There  were  only  five  hundred  printed,  which 

is  rather  a  small  edition. 

RATNER:   Why  were  some  of  those  Picture  Books  destroyed? 

KISTLER:   Well,  they  disappeared  one  way  and  another.   As 

quite  a  few  people  were  fascinated  by  the  pictures 

themselves,  they  simply  cut  them  up  and  framed  them. 

RATNER:   Oh,  I  see.   So  they  took  them  apart,  the  books 

apart . 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Did  you  see  one  of  those  books? 

RATNER:   I  did.   Yeah,  I  enjoyed  looking  at  it. 

Well,  here's  another  one  you  printed  in  1935  that  was 


on  a  little  bit  different  track  from  the  ones  we've  talked 

about.   It  was  Modern  Dance.   This  one  says  it  was  compiled 

by  Virginia  Stewart,  that  it  was  designed  by  Merle 

Armitage,  and  printed  by  you.   It  had  an  original 

lithograph  drawn  directly  on  the  stone  by  Elise  [Cavanna 

Seeds]  and  hand  printed  by  you. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   What  do  you  recall  about  that  book? 

KISTLER:   Gee,  I  don't  remember  very  much  about  that  right 

now.   I  hadn't  thought  about  that  for  quite  a  long  time. 

It  was  one  of  Merle  Armitage 's  enthusiasms,  one  of  the 

people  that  he  was  very  enthusiastic  about.   He  got 

Virginia  Stewart  to  write  the  book,  and  we  printed  it  for 


RATNER:   Who  was  Virginia  Stewart? 

KISTLER:   Virginia  Stewart?   Well,  she  was  a  person  that 

was  interested  in  cultural  matters  and  interested  in 

dancers  and  Martha  Graham  and  a  number  of  others  that  were 

in  the  limelight  at  that  time.   She  researched  all  of  these 

people  and  made  quite  an  outstanding  book  of  their  work. 

RATNER:   It  said  inserted  in  this  book--it  must  have  just 

been  inserted  by  the  person  who  owned  it--were  two  articles 

on  the  Armitage-Kistler  collaboration,  one  by  Carl  Haverlin 

and  one  by  Jose  Rodriguez.   I  would  have  liked  to  have  seen 

those  articles.   Do  you  happen  to  have  copies  of  those? 


KISTLER:   Gee,  I'd  forgotten  about  them  altogether.   I 

don't  know  where  I  could  get  those. 

RATNER:   That  would  have  been  nice  to  have  looked  at. 

[pause]   Okay,  now  here's  another  one  that  was 

interesting.   This  was  a  series  of  concert  programs  it 

looks  like  you  did  for  KECA  concert  programs? 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   From  October  1935  to  September  1936.   These  all 

included  wood  engravings  of  the  composers  on  the  covers  by 

Paul  Landacre. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   How  did  you  get  that  project? 

KISTLER:   Well,  Carl  Haverlin  was  my  friend.   He  was 

program  manager  at  Earl  C.  Anthony's.   Earl  C.  Anthony  had 

the  KECA.   And  Carl  was  another  enthusiast,  like  Merle,  and 

he  was  enthusiastic  about  Paul  Landacre 's  woodblocks.   He 

was  also  enthusiastic  about  the  programs  that  were  being 

put  on  by  KECA.   I  don't  know,  it's  hard  to  explain.   It 

was  a  publication  like  is  put  out  today  by  the  television 

people,  you  know,  to  promote  their  programs. 

RATNER:   I  see. 

KISTLER:   That's  what  they  were,  and  we  printed  those. 

That  was  printed  by  letterpress  rather  than  lithography. 

It  was  a  letterpress  project,  because  it  was  all  material 

about  the  musical  concerts  that  were  coming  up,  and  it  was 


over  radio.   It  wasn't  television.   It  was  before  the 
development  of  television. 

Joe  Rodriguez,  who  was  at  KECA,  and  Carl  Haverlin  and, 
oh,  another  printer--  What  was  his  name?   Well,  there  were 
quite  a  number  of  us  printers  who  were  interested  in  Paul 
Landacre's  engravings.   He  has  become  one  of  the  finest 
wood  engravers  in  the  country,  and  his  work  is  very  well 
known.   Of  course,  he's  passed  on  now.   He  was  from  the 
Midwest.   I  believe  he  was  from  Ohio,  and  he  was  an  athlete 
and  was  very  outstanding  in  athletic  work  and  everything. 
But  he  contracted  this  infantile  paralysis.   It  crippled 
him  so  that  he  didn't  have  good  control  of  his  limbs  and 
things,  and  he  had  to  take  up  something  besides  running. 
So  he  took  up  woodcutting.   He  started  out  with  linoleum 
blocks  and  finally  got  down  to  wood  engraving.   He  bought  a 
Washington  handpress  and  not  only  engraved  his  blocks,  but 
he  printed  them  too.   I  have  one  of  them  here.   I  don't 
know  whether  you're  acquainted  with  his  work  or  not. 
RATNER:   Yes,  it's  very  beautiful.   I've  always  admired  it. 
KISTLER:   Yes.   But  his  work  was  more  or  less  limited 
because  he  couldn't  produce  rapidly.   His  wife  helped  him 
in  his  work.   They  were  very,  very  devoted.   She  passed  on 
in  her  fifties,  I  think,  and  that  just  devastated  him.   He 
finally  died  in  a  fire.   I  think  he  set  it  himself.   He  was 
just  so  despondent,  because  his  wife  was  so  essential  to 


his  getting  on  and  doing  his  work.   He  felt  as  though  he 
had  nobody  to  help  him  out  at  that  time,  so  that  when  she 
passed  on,  why,  that  just  ended  things  for  him.   It  was 
really  very  tragic. 

But  what  there  is  left  of  his  work  is  beautiful,  and 
it  is  well  appreciated.   Ward  Ritchie  has  printed  a  book  on 
him  [Paul  Landacre] .   He  did  two  lithographs  with  me,  and 
his  drawing  on  the  stone--  He  was  a  very  meticulous  worker 
and  a  beautiful  worker,  and  his  concepts  were  just 
marvelous.   He  was  a  natural  artist.   I  steered  him  away 
from  lithography,  because  it  was  drawing,  and  I  thought 
that  he  should  just  concentrate  on  woodblocks.   So  that  I 
didn't  encourage  him  to  go  any  further  with  the 
lithography,  although  the  one  or  two  things  that  he  did 
with  me  were  really  quite  beautiful.   But  the  woodcutting 
was  unique,  and  he  had  established  himself,  more  or  less, 
for  that.   He  did  make  a  name  for  himself,  and  there  is  no 
other  woodcutter  that  I  know  in  this  area  that  has  achieved 
what  Paul  Landacre  did. 

His  work  was  quite  beautiful,  and  it's  due  to  the  fact 
that  he  concentrated  on  wood  engraving  rather  than  working 
in  so  many  areas.   Because  he  just  didn't  have  the  time  to 
do  it.   He  was  a  very  slow  worker,  and  it  was  difficult  for 
him  to  work,  even  with  his  wife's  help.   His  wife  helped 
him  at  the  press,  too.   She  helped  him  pull  the  lever  on 


the  press  and  exert  some  of  the  physical  exercise  that ' s 

necessary  in  working  a  Washington  handpress.   It's  a 

physical  thing.   It's  necessary  to  exert  yourself  quite  a 


RATNER:   There  was  a  show  a  few  years  ago  at  the  [Los 

Angeles]  County  Museum  of  Art  of  his  work  ["Paul  Landacre: 

Prints  and  Drawings,"  1983].   Did  you  happen  to  see  that? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  did.   Yes. 

RATNER:   It  was  nice.   I  think  they  did  a  small  catalog 

with  that. 

KISTLER:   Yeah.   Yes,  we  went.   Do  you  remember,  Lelah?   We 

went  to  see  Paul  Landacre ' s  prints  at  the  Los  Angeles 


LELAH  KISTLER:   I've  gone  to  so  many  places  and  seen  so 

many  people's  prints,  I'm  not  sure  I  remember  that 


KISTLER:   Don't  you  remember  we  were  surprised  at  the  way 

that  the  Los  Angeles  Museum  had  been-- 

LELAH  KISTLER:   Oh,  the  last  time  we  went  up  there? 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

LELAH  KISTLER:   Yes.   They  remodeled  the  museum  and  added 

to  it  and  so  forth.   It's  beautiful  now.   Yes,  but  I  didn't 

remember  it  was  Landacre ' s  work  in  particular. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   It  was  a  nice  show.   Okay,  here's  another  one  that 


you  did  for  the  Hollywood  Bowl,  and  this  was  by  Isabel 

Morse  Jones  and  designed  by  Merle  Armitage  and  printed  by 

Lynton  Kistler.   What  was  that  for? 

KISTLER:   Well,  that  was  just  a  history  of  the  Hollywood 

Bowl.   It  was  all  typeset,  and  there  was  nothing  really 

outstanding  about  it  except  it  was  a  well-printed  job.   It 

was  another  one  of  those  things  that  Merle  Armitage  was 

enthusiastic  about  and  promoted.   Isabel  Morse  Jones  at 

that  time  was  the  historian  of  the  Hollywood  Bowl,  and  it's 

a  complete  story  of  the  Hollywood  Bowl  up  to  the  thirties 


RATNER:   Right,  1936.   It  was  203  pages,  so  I  guess  it  was 

pretty  complete. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   It  told  how  the  Bowl  was  started  and  the 

people  that  were  connected  with  it,  how  it  grew.   She  had 

kept  a  record  of  the  whole  thing.   It  was  a  very  good 

exposition  of  the  history  of  the  Hollywood  Bowl. 

RATNER:   Here's  another  one  from  1935  on  Stravinsky  [Igor 

Stravinsky] .   I  guess  this  was  one  that  Armitage  wrote 

also.   "Designed  by  Merle  Armitage,  printed  under  the 

direction  of  Lynton  Kistler,  158  pages." 

KISTLER:   Yes,  well,  that  was  another  one  of  Armitage 's 

enthusiasms:   Stravinsky.   He  was  interested  in  music.   He 

was  not  a  musician  himself,  but  he  appreciated  people  who 

had  accomplished  things  in  music,  and  Stravinsky  was  one  of 


them  that  he  was  interested  in.   He  designed  the  book  and-- 

I've  forgotten  who  it  was  who  did  some  artwork  on  that.   It 

was  very  nicely  done. 

RATNER:   On  this  little  thing  it  doesn't  mention  that 

there's  any  artwork. 

KISTLER:   Well,  it  was  just  design. 

RATNER:   I  see.    Here's  one.  Two  Statements  by  Pablo 

Picasso.   It  says,  "New  York,  Los  Angeles,  Merle  Armitage, 

1936,  designed  by  Merle  Armitage,  printed  by  Lynton 

Kistler."   And  bound  in  was  an  original  lithograph  by 

Giovanni  Napolitano,  pulled  from  the  stone  by  Lynton 


KISTLER:   Gee,  I  don't  remember  much  about  that  really. 

RATNER:   It  seems  interesting  that  it  says  "two  statements 

by  Pablo  Picasso."   I  wonder  whether  Merle  Armitage  had 

just  found  those  particular  statements  interesting  and 

decided  to  put  them  in  a  book  or  what. 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  think  that  that  is  probably  what 

happened,  yes.   He  was  in  touch  with  all  of  these  artists 

and  musicians.   It's  quite  possible  that  he  did  get  that 

directly  from  Picasso.   He  knew  them.   He  presented  them  on 

the  stage  here.   Most  of  these  things  were  done  at  the  [Los 

Angeles]  Philharmonic  [Orchestra] .   He  was  the  manager  of 

the  Los  Angeles  Grand  Opera  Company.   In  the  off-season, 

why,  he  brought  in  these  people,  these  musicians. 


RATNER:   Where  was  Armitage's  home  base? 

KISTLER:   Los  Angeles.   He  put  in  quite  a  bit  of  time  with 

Edward  Weston.   He  was  very  much  interested  in  Weston's 

work.   I  did  two  books  [The  Art  of  Edward  Weston  and  Fifty 

Photographs  by  Edward  Weston]  on  Edward  Weston,  and 

Armitage  got  financing  for  them.   It  [The  Art  of  Edward 

Weston]  was  a  large  book.   It  was  about  9"  X  12"  in  size, 

and  there  were  thirty-six,  I  think,  reproductions  of 

Edward's  work.   It  was  printed  letterpress,  and  I  think  I 

told  you  the  experience  we  had  in  starting  the  book. 

RATNER:   Right. 

KISTLER:   It  was  beautifully  designed.   It  was  one  of  the 

[American  Institute  of  Graphic  Arts']  Fifty  Books  of  the 


RATNER:   Right,  that  was  the  earlier  one.   Right.   And  I 

know  that  you  did  do  another  one  later  also,  the  second 

book.   In  1947  was  the  second  one. 


JANUARY  17,  1989 

RATNER:   Okay,  we  were  talking  about  some  of  the  books  you 
had  printed  with  Armitage  before  we  flipped  the  tape. 
Here's  another  one  [Martha  Graham]  from  1937  that  was  done 
on  Martha  Graham.   You  mentioned  her  a  few  minutes  ago  and 
his  interest  in  modern  dance.   What  do  you  recall  about 
that  book? 

KISTLER:   Well,  it  was  just  a  book  of  essays.   I've 
forgotten  just  what  the  material  was  on  it,  but  it  was  just 
a  well-printed  book.   It  was  done  letterpress.   It  was  one 
of  the  fifty  books  of  Armitage 's  that  I  did.   I  guess  it 
was  the  first  book  that  was  printed  on  Martha  Graham.   From 
the  standpoint  of  design,  just  well  printed  is  all  that  I 
can  say  about  it.   There  was  no  departure  there  as  far  as 
printing  is  concerned.   Of  course,  it  was  unique  because  of 
Armitage 's  layout  and  his  approach  to  it  and  the  material 
that  was  presented.   The  book  was  well  bound--  It  was  a 
full-bound  book.   But  it  was  another  book  we  printed. 
RATNER:   It  says,  "Binding  by  C.  Frank  Fox."   Was  that  a 
local  firm? 

KISTLER:   Yeah.   Well,  that  was  a  bookbinder  that  did  some 
very  good  work  for  us,  and  he  did  the  binding  on  quite  a 
number  of  our  books.   He  was  a  man  that  was  willing  to  put 
in  a  little  extra  effort  on  his  binding  work.   He  was  a 


very  competent  man  and  he  bound,  well,  I  guess,  several  of 
the  books  that  we  printed,  if  it  was  a  full-bound  book. 
RATNER:   What  does  that  mean,  full  bound? 

KISTLER:   Well,  it  means  that  it  had  the  stiff  covers  and 
it  was  bound  in  cloth.   It  wasn't  a  paperback.   As  a  matter 
of  fact,  all  of  the  books  we  did  were  full-bound  books. 
Henrietta  Shore  and  the  Warren  Newcombe  book  were 
paperbacks.   We  didn't  have  the  money  for  a  binding,  but 
they  were  well  put  together,  and  some  people  rebound  them 
in  boards.   Full  binding,  even  in  those  days,  was  pretty 
expensive  and  hand  sewed,  usually.   They  didn't  have  the 
automatic  machinery  for  binding.   They  were  put  together  by 

RATNER:   So  I  guess  that  added  pretty  significantly  to  the 
cost  of  the  book. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  it  did.   Then  it's  amazing  the  amount  of 
progress  that  there  has  been  made  in  the  printing  business 
since  I  got  into  it.   It  is  of  a  different  character  today-- 
the  printing  itself--the  way  that  it's  put  together  and 
everything.   When  I  came  into  it,  the  average  printer  was 
just  getting  to  the  point  where  they  were  getting  into 
setting  type.   I  mean,  setting  type  by  machinery,  and  doing 
a  lot  of  it.   My  father  [William  A.  Kistler]  was  one  of  the 
first  printers  in  Los  Angeles,  commercial  printers,  to  put 
a  typesetting  machine  in.   Even  newspaper  work,  when  I 


first  came  into  the  business,  a  lot  of  it  was  being  set  by 
hand.   It  picked  up  every  letter  individually  and  put  it 
into  a  stick  and  put  it  together.   There  were  two 
machines.   One  was  the  Monotype  machine,  which  my  father 
had,  and  that  set  and  justified,  or  made  the  lines  all  the 
same  length,  so  they  came  out  just  as--  Better  than  you 
could  do  it  by  hand  setting.   It  was  absolutely  perfect 
setting.   But  they  were  individual  letters.   They  cast  them 
and  put  them  together  at  the  same  time.   There  was  a 
keyboard  that  had--  Like  a  typewriter,  you  know.   It  made 
the  letters  of  different  widths  just  like  they  were  in  hand 
setting,  and  it  duplicated  hand  setting  right  to  a  tee,  but 
it  improved  it.   It  did  perfectly  what,  you  know,  you  were 
doing  in  the  hand  setting.   That  is,  it  justified  those 
lines  so  that  they  came  out  all  the  same  length.   It  was 
really  a  marvelous  machine.   I  learned  that.   I  learned  to 
run  both  the  keyboard  and  the  caster.   I  wasn't  very  good 
at  it,  but  it  was  one  of  the  things  that  I  got  into 
learning  in  the  printing  business. 

RATNER:   So  your  father  had  you  learn  everything? 
KISTLER:   Yes,  I  was  into  everything  in  the  plant.   I 
didn't  do  an  awful  lot  of  presswork.   I  did  some,  but  I  was 
more  interested  in  the  typography,  and  my  father  was  a 
compositor.   He  got  into  the  business  of  setting  newspaper 
by  hand . 


RATNER:   So  it  seems  to  have  served  you  well  to  have 
learned  all  the  bits  and  pieces. 

KISTLER:   Yeah,  I  got  a  smattering  of  all  of  it. 
RATNER:   That's  good. 

KISTLER:   But  I  got  hooked  on  the  lithography.   That  was 
the  thing  that  fascinated  me  more  than  anything  else.   It 
is  my  ambition  to  have  lithography  accepted  as  fine  art, 
and  I  just  never  had  the  financing  to  do  it.   The  artists 
couldn't  afford  to  pay  me  the  modest  sums  that  I  asked  for 
printing  their  work,  and  I  didn't  have  the  money  to  do  the 
exploitation  that  has  been  done  on  lithography.   It  took 
years  to  do  it  and  it's  pretty  well  accepted  now.   But  it 
was  my  ambition  to  get  the  best  artists  that  were  available 
and  get  their  work  into  the  hands  of  collectors.   I  gave 
talks  all  over  the  city  to  every  organization  that  would 
listen  to  me.   I'd  even  take  my  presses  apart.   They  were 
handpresses.   I'd  take  them  apart  and  take  them  out  and 
give  demonstrations  for  printing,  just  for  one  evening. 
One  year  I  took  the  whole  outfit  to  Sacramento  to  the 
[California]  State  Fair  and  took  a  bunch  of  stones,  and  I 
worked  with  quite  a  number  of  artists  up  there  in  San 
Francisco  at  that  time. 

There  are  a  lot  of  heartbreakers,  too,  about  the 
thing.   I  wanted  to  get  as  many  presses  as  I  could,  and  I 
used  a  transfer  press  to  do  my  printing.   They  were  a  press 


that  was  used  in  the  lithographic  industry,  and  they  were 
commencing  to  be  phased  out.   They  could  make  the  plates 
without  making  these  transfers.   But  there  was  a  very  neat 
little  press  that  you  pull  pictures  on.   There  was  one  firm 
up  in  San  Francisco  that  had  about  six  or  eight  of  these 
presses.   When  I  came  back  from  Sacramento,  why,  I  made  a 
point  to  stop  in  at  San  Francisco  to  see  this  firm.   I  knew 
that  they  had  these  presses.   I  asked  and  I  tried  to  get 
them  to  let  me  buy  the  presses,  and  they  wouldn't  sell  any 
of  them  to  me.   "Oh,"  they  said,  "they  might  come  back 
again  a  little  bit  later, "  and  they  might  need  them.   So  I 
waited  three  or  four  or  five  years,  something  like  that, 
and  I  went  up  to  San  Francisco  again  when  I  was  up  there. 
I  stopped  in  and  asked  them  if  they  were  willing  to  turn 
over  some  of  the  presses  to  me,  if  they  were  ready  to 
release  them.   They  said  no,  that  they  had  just  sold  them 
for  old  iron-- 
RATNER:   Oh,  no. 

KISTLER:   --and  that  they  had  that  day  sent  them  down  to  a 
wrecking  company,  and  they  broke  them  up  for  the  iron  that 
was  in  them.   I  went  down  to  the  wrecking  company  and  I 
tried  to  get  the  presses,  and  they  said  no,  they  had  just 
broken  them  up. 

RATNER:   Oh,  that  is  a  heartbreaker . 
KISTLER:   It  is  a  heartbreaker,  for  a  fact. 


RATNER:   What  year  was  that?   About  what  year? 
KISTLER:   Oh,  that  was  during  the  thirties  sometime.   I 
can't  recall  just  when  it  was.   One  of  the  big  lithograph 
companies  in  San  Francisco  found  it  possible  to  get  rid  of 
their  stones.   They  were  working  on  metal  then.   They  had 
gone  to  offset  lithography,  so  they  just  had  tons  of  stone, 
great  racks  of  this  stone.   I  was  anxious  to  get  stones, 
and  I  went  up  there  to  San  Francisco  and  tried  to  buy  this 
stone  from  them.   My  capital  was  limited,  so  I  could  only 
get  so  much  of  it.   What  I  wanted  to  do  was  go  up  there 
with  a  truck  and  load  the  truck  with  all  of  the  stone  that 
I  could  and  bring  it  down  to  Los  Angeles,  here.   I  told 
these  people  that  I  would  be  glad  to  take  a  whole  load  of 
this  stone  if  they  would  sell  it  to  me.   They  said,  "Oh, 
we'll  sell  you  all  that  you  can  pay  for,  but  you  will  have 
to  pay  for  it  in  cash. "   They  took  tons  of  it  and  dumped  it 
into  San  Francisco  Bay,  and,  of  course,  it  was  no  good 
after  it  had  been  in  the  salt  water,  no  good  at  all.   It 
really  broke  my  heart. 
RATNER:   I  would  think  so. 

KISTLER:   That  was  during  the  forties  and  fifties  when  I 
was  at  Third  [Street]  and  Carondelet  [Street] .   I  thought 
it  was  awfully  shortsighted,  because  I  could  have  sold  the 
stones  to  the  artists,  you  know.   The  artists  wanted  to  buy 
my  stones.   I  wouldn't  sell  them  because  I  had  a  limited 


number  of  stones,  and  most  of  them--the  artists--were 
working  on  them.   But  I  needed  the  supply  because  the 
stones  disappeared.   The  artists  would  take  them  out,  and 
the  artists  would  disappear  and  the  stones  with  them.   So 
that  I  had  stones  all  over  the  place  that  were  out,  and  I 
needed  a  new  supply  all  the  time.   If  I  could  buy  them 
cheaply  enough,  why,  it  would  have  been  possible  for  me  to 
sell  quite  a  bunch  of  them.   I  could  have  sold  a  truckload 
of  this  stone.   I  had  places  to  store  it  and  everything. 
That  was  the  way  that  the  materials  disappeared.   So  that, 
eventually,  it  got  to  the  point  where  there  wasn't  very 
much  stone  available.   I  sent  back  to  New  York  and  bought  a 
whole  two  or  three  tons  of  stone,  and  I  told  them  that  I 
would  be  glad  to  have  used  stone.   By  that  time,  why,  they 
had  a  lot  of  original  stones  that  had  never  been  used  at 
all,  and  they  shipped  me  brand-new  stone.   I  was  surprised 
to  get  a  stone  that  had  never  been  worked  at  all. 
RATNER:   Was  the  stone  all  from  Germany? 
KISTLER:   Yes.   The  German  stone  is  from  the  Kelheim 
quarries  in  Munich,  and  it's  a--  I  don't  know  whether  it 
was  a  good  sales  job  that  determines  bid,  but  according  to 
lithographers  who  were  using  this  stone,  there  was  only  one 
stone  that  was  any  good  at  all,  and  that  was  the  stone  from 
the  Solnhofen  and  the  Kelheim  quarries,  which  is  just 
outside  Munich.   And  Munich  is  where  lithography  was 


invented.   So  that  it's  quite  an  interesting  thing  that-- 
But  I  know  that  there's  been  stone  found  in--  Well, 
limestone  is  a  pretty  generally  known  kind  of  stone. 
RATNER:   And  the  German  stone  was  limestone,  right? 
KISTLER:   Yes.   Well,  limestone  is  the  only  stone  that  was 
good  for  lithography--they ' re  right  about  that--but 
limestone  is  known  all  over  the  world.   They  even  made 
cement  out  of  it.   It's  really  quite  an  ordinary  stone. 
But  this  stone  from  these  quarries  just  a  few  miles  outside 
of  Munich--  The  finest  limestone  came  from  there,  and  we 
all  wanted  the  German  stone.   It  was  strange  here  when  some 
of  the  lithograph  companies  closed  their  stone  department. 
Why,  a  lot  of  them  took  and  paved  their  patios  with  them. 
That  was  a  very  hazardous  thing  to  do,  because  they  became 
very  slippery  when  they  got  wet,  and  they  found  out  that 
they  couldn't  walk  on  them.   A  lot  of  them  had  to  take  the 
stone  up  again.   But  a  lot  of  the  stone  ended  up  in  that 
way--they  built  walls  of  it  and  made  cement  of  it.   A  lot 
of  the  very  fine  lithograph  stone  disappeared  that  we  would 
have  liked  to  have  had. 

RATNER:   How  often  could  a  stone  be  reused?   Because  I  know 
it  could  be  regrained  and-- 

KISTLER:   I  don't  know  how  many  times.   I  never  wore  out  a 
stone.   I  had  over  a  hundred  myself.   Of  course,  I  used 
them,  I  passed  them  around.   But  lithograph  stones,  the 


real  fine  stone  is  unique.   It  runs  in  grade  from  almost 
chalky  white  clear  through  to  a  gray  or  a  blue-gray  that  is 
so  hard  that  you  can  hardly  use  it  for  artwork.   And  the 
quality  of  the  work  varies  according  to  the  stones,  so  that 
the  first  job  that  a  lithographer  has  is  to  select  a  proper 
stone  for  the  work  that  the  artist  is  doing.   Just  the 
light  gray  stones  are  the  ones  that  are  the  best,  because 
the  drawing  shows  up  on  there  more  like  on  white  paper  than 
on  any  of  the  others.   The  real  soft  ones,  the  chalky  ones, 
don't  hold  the  work  well,  but  they  can  be  used  for,  oh, 
tint  blocks  and  work  that  isn't  critical.   But  that 
lithograph  there  is  one  that  is  done-- 
RATNER:   The  Chariot? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  that  Chariot.   It  was  done  on  the  best  stone 
that  I  had.   It  was  a  light  gray  stone,  and  it  was  hard 
enough  so  that  it  held  all  of  the  work  that  was  put  on 
it.   And  it  would  stand  the  etch,  so  that  I  didn't  etch  off 
the  light  work  that  was  put  on  by  the  artist.   It  would 
hold  light  work  and  it  would  also  print  the  solids,  so  that 
it  really  was  an  exceptional  stone. 
RATNER:   What's  that  piece  called? 

KISTLER:   That's  called  [The]  Tortilla  Lesson.   The 
tonality  there  is  really  remarkable.   It's  a  good  example 
of  what  a  lithograph  can  do  in  holding  real  delicate  work 
against  real  dark  areas.   That's  one  of  Chariot's. 


RATNER:   Okay,  there's  just  one  last  book  that  you  printed 

with  Armitage  that  I  wanted  to  ask  you  about.   It  was 

called  Fit  for  a  King:  The  Merle  Armitage  Book  of  Food. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   It  was  a  little  different  than  the  others,  and  it 

was  printed  in  1939  with  four  photographs  by  Edward  Weston, 

designed  by  Armitage,  printed  by  you.   In  this  particular 

copy  it's  inscribed,  "For  Carl  Haverlin,  the  man  we  hope 

will  come  to  dinner.   Salute,  Merle."   And  then,  "For  Carl 

Haverlin,  a  darn  good  egg.   Lynt."   You  must  have  written 


KISTLER:   Where  did  you  run  into  that? 

RATNER:   Oh,  it  was  in  this  catalog  from  the  Cal[ifornia] 

State  [University]  Northridge  show. 

KISTLER:   Oh,  it  was?   I  wonder  who  has  that  now. 

RATNER:   I  don't  know.   Oh,  it  also  had  drawings  by  Elise. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   What  kind  of  a  book  was  that?   A  cookbook? 

KISTLER:   Cookbook,  yes.   Merle  was  a  gourmet  and  very  much 

interested  in  food.   He  ate  all  kinds  of  food  and  drank  all 

kinds  of  wine,  an  authority  on  all  of  it,  so  he  put 

together  the  cookbook  and  we  printed  it  for  him. 

RATNER:   So  that  was  the  last  book  you  printed--at  least  it 

seems  that  way  from  this  catalog--during  the  thirties, 

before  you  left  for  New  York,  which  we  had  talked  about. 


maybe  in  our  first  session,  that  you  had  gone  to  New  York 

in  the  forties.   You  closed  up  your  shop  and  went  to  New 

York . 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   You  mentioned  that  on  your  New  York  trip,  you 

worked  in  a  printing  plant.   What  type  of  work  did  you  do? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  just  commercial  printing  for  one  of  the 

printing  firms  in  New  Haven.   Worked  for  them  for  a 

while.   Nothing  spectacular  at  all. 

RATNER:   I  also  read  somewhere  that  during  the  war  you  met 

George  Miller,  the  well-known  New  York  lithographer. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  did. 

RATNER:   Who  introduced  you? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  just  went  up  there  and  said  hello  to 

him.   We  talked  for  a  while. 

RATNER:   At  his  plant? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   His  plant  was  on  Fourteenth  Street,  and  he 

had  one  press  up  there  and  he  was  doing  the  work.   He  did 

more  for  lithography  than  I  did.   He  got  into  it  before  I 

did.   I  don't  know  just  how  he  got  into  it,  but  I  think 

that  his  son  [Burr  Miller]  is  still  carrying  on  in  New 


RATNER:   Oh,  really?   I  didn't  know  that.   So  you  knew 

about  him  in  Los  Angeles? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  knew  about  him. 


RATNER:   How  impressed  were  you  with  the  quality  of  his 


KISTLER:   Well,  his  work  was  tops.   He  was  an  excellent 

man.   He's  probably  the  outstanding  lithographer  in  the 

United  States.   He  started  several  years  before  I  did.   His 

work  was  very  well  known.   There  was  an  outfit  that 

published  lithographs  for  a  while  and  sold  them  for  $5 


RATNER:   Right,  Associated  American  Artists. 

KISTLER:   Associated  American  Artists.   Of  course,  there 

was  nobody  here  that  took  up  that  work  and  tried  to  sell 

them,  but  Miller  had  that  work  available  and  did  quite  a 

bit  of  it,  quite  a  number  of  prints  for  them.   He  had  a 

business  going.   Well,  I  did  one  or  two  prints  for 

Associated  American  Artists,  but  they  wouldn't  send  their 

prints  out  here,  and  I  couldn't  get  enough  out  of  them.   If 

there  had  been  a  large  volume,  I  might  have  done  something 

with  it  the  way  that  Miller  did,  but  I  just  got  a  job  like 

that  once  in  a  while.   I  think  that  they  printed  somewhere 

between  one  hundred  and  five  hundred  prints.   But  I  had  to 

print  them  for  fifty  cents  apiece,  and  I  just  couldn't  get 


RATNER:   It's  too  low. 

KISTLER:   Too  low.   I  didn't  have  volume  and  I  didn't  have 

the  price  either.   Associated  American  Artists  were  very 


tough  to  work  with.   I  tried  to  get  the  prints  down  to  less 

than  half  of  that.   And  it  cost  money  in  those  days  to  ship 

the  stones  back  and  forth.   I  can't  blame  them  for  it.   But 

I  did  one  or  two  stones  for  them.   They  accepted  them. 

They  thought  they  were  good.   I  think  the  largest  edition 

that  I  ever  printed  was  five  hundred. 

RATNER:   For  them? 

KISTLER:   It  was  for--  I  can't  remember.   I  can't  recall 

the  artist's  name  now,  but  I  can  look  it  up  if  you'd  like 

to  know. 

RATNER:   Yeah,  if  you  think  of  it,  that  would  be 

interesting.   You  also,  while  you  were  in  New  York,  gave  a 

lithography  demonstration  at  the  New  York  World's  Fair. 

How  did  that  come  about? 

KISTLER:   Well,  the  people  asked  me  to  come  and  demonstrate 

lithography,  so  I  went  there  and  had  a  group.   I  gave  a 

talk  on  lithography,  told  them  what  I  knew  about  it,  and 

showed  them  how  it  was  done.   I  pulled  my  prints  and 


RATNER:   Well,  how  did  they  know  about  you,  though,  in  New 

York?   Your  reputation  had  preceded  you? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  yes.   My  work  was  known  in  New  York.   By  that 

time,  I  had  work  in  the  Metropolitan  Museum  of  Art  and  had 

quite  a--  My  work  was  pretty  well  known.   They  tried  to  get 

me  to  go  to  work  there,  but  I  didn't  want  to  because,  well. 


I  thought  they  had  enough  lithographers  there. 
RATNER:   While  you  were  in  New  York  was  during  the  war. 
What  kinds  of  limitations  were  there  at  that  time  on 
available  lithographic  materials? 

KISTLER:   Well,  they  had  commenced  to  curtail  the 
manufacture  of  some  materials  at  that  time.   Good  paper  was 
hard  to  get  ahold  of  until,  oh,  about  ten  years  ago  good 
handmade  paper  became  available  again.   Well,  it  was 
available  all  the  time  I  was  printing,  but  there  wasn't 
very  much  of  it,  and  I  had  to  resort  to  the  use  of  some 
machine-made  papers.   I  had  papers  from  the  Strathmore 
Paper  Company,  who  were  the  best  makers  of  fine  paper  at 
that  time.   I  did  quite  a  few  of  my  editions  on  Strathmore 
paper,  but  it  was  machine-made  paper.   I  could  get  some 
handmade  paper,  but  it  was  very  expensive  and  a  lot  of  it 
wasn't  properly  made.   It  would  deteriorate  if  you  weren't 

RATNER:   How  about  inks? 

KISTLER:  Well,  the  industry  was  changing  all  the  way  down 
the  line,  and  some  of  the  materials  and  some  of  the  things 
disappeared.  For  instance,  it  was  hard  to  get  grainers  at 
one  time.  It  got  to  be  impossible,  almost,  to  get  plates 
grained  properly.  Not  the  stones.  The  stones  were  always 
grained  by  hand,  so  that  wasn't  a  problem.  But  when  we  got 
into  working  on  metal--  A  lot  of  the  hand  lithographers  in 


later  years  did  work  on  metal  quite  a  bit,  and  they 
couldn't  get  the  plates  grained  properly. 
RATNER:   This  is  during  the  forties? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Another  thing  that  was  very  bad--  At  the 
time  when  I  put  my  lithograph  presses  in,  why,  we  used  a 
lot  of  zinc  plates.   And  the  zinc  plates  were  very  good. 
They  were  almost  like  a  stone.   You  would  get  almost  the 
same  quality.   But  aluminum  is  not  as  sensitive  to  ink  as 
zinc  is.   Zinc  was  very  hard  to  run.   It  would  get  all 
clogged  up  if  your  inks  weren't  just  right  and  if  you 
didn't  have  just  the  right  etch  on  them  and  it  wasn't  done 
just  absolutely  to  perfection.   So  that  when  aluminum  came 
in,  why,  aluminum  wasn't  quite  as  sensitive  to  the  taking 
of  the  ink,  but  then  the  place  was  run  cleaner.   You  didn't 
have  the  trouble  with  them  scumming  up  and  things  like 
that.   So  that  now,  the  last  time  I  tried  to  get  some  zinc, 
I  couldn't  get  it  at  all.   Nobody  had  any  zinc.   It  was  the 
right  thickness,  you  know.   Because  the  zinc  and  the 
aluminum  plates  are  very  thin,  and  aluminum  and  zinc  are 
the  only  metals  that  have  worked  out  satisfactorily  in 
lithography.   By  the  time  that  I  got  to  working  on  this 
print  here  of  [Stanton]  Macdonald-Wright ' s,  why,  I  had  to 
do  it  on  zinc  or  on  aluminum.   It  was  very  hard  to  get  what 
we  wanted  there.   Aluminum  won't  take  a  nice  grain  like 
zinc  will,  but  it  will  run  clean.   And  that's  the-- 


RATNER:   That  was  the  key. 

KISTLER:   That's  the  incentive.   So  it  disappeared.   Zinc 
disappeared  in  the  industry  altogether.   I  was  very 
fortunate,  as  far  as  ink  is  concerned.   When  I  first 
started  printing,  we  were  working  with  earth  colors.   I 
mean,  they  ground  up  certain  minerals-- 

RATNER:   Right,  I  think  you  were  telling  me  something  about 

KISTLER:   --and  they  precipitated  certain  things  to  make 
their  colors,  you  know.   We  had  an  awful  lot  of  earth 
colors.   Some  of  them  are  quite  fugitive  and  very  hard  to 
handle,  very  hard  to  have  colors  that  wouldn't  fade  or 
wouldn't  change  color  after  a  period  of  time.   Eventually, 
we  got  a  lot  better  ink.   I  worked  with  a  firm  here,  the 
Gans  Ink  Company,  and  Bob  [Robert]  Gans  was  very  helpful  in 
making  inks  for  me  and  mixing  inks  and  things  like  that. 
The  later  printings  are  done  with  aniline  colors,  and  they 
are  much  better,  but  you  have  to  be  careful  to  get  colors 
that  will  last.   Those  colors  there  have  been  on  the  wall 
for,  I  don't  know,  maybe  twenty  years,  something  like  that, 
and  they  stand  up.   Even  the  delicate  colors  are  not  faded 
in  that,  and  those  are  all  aniline  colors. 

But  the  industry  changed  as  to  equipment  that  was 
available.   The  printing  industry  has  just  changed 
tremendously,  clear  through  the  whole  industry.   When  I 


started  in  the  business,  why,  a  lot  of  press  printing--you 
know,  90  percent  of  the  printing--was  done  with  type.   When 
I  first  got  acquainted  with  the  business,  my  father  used  to 
set  me  up  on  a  stool  and  give  me  a  stick  to  put  the  set 
type  in,  and  he  taught  me  to  set  type.   I  set  type  when  I 
was  just  a  kid,  about  ten  years  old.   I  learned  to  set 
type,  how  to  justify  it  and  everything,  make  use  of  it. 
But  then  it  went  from  handset  type--  It  was  one  of  the 
first  things  that--  And  machine  automatic  presses  came  into 
being  during  my  time.   The  first  presses  that  I  worked  on 
were  hand-fed  presses.   I  put  the  paper  into  the  press  and 
let  the  press  take  a  whack  at  it,  and  then  I'd  pull  it  out 
and  put  in  another  one.   They  were  called  "snappers." 
RATNER:   Snap  the  paper  right  up. 

KISTLER:   Yeah,  platen  presses.   Then  they  commenced  to  get 
the--  Oh,  rotary  presses  came  in.   Then  they  got  automatic 
typesetting.   Now  there's  very  few  people  that  have  type  in 
their  plant.   They  don't  work  with  type  at  all.   It  is  done 
on  computers  and  things  like  that.   I  don't  know  anything 
about  it  at  all. 
RATNER:   It's  changes  so  much. 
KISTLER:   I  didn't  get  into  that. 
RATNER:   It  will  probably  keep  changing,  too. 
KISTLER:   Well,  I  don't  know  what  else  they  can  do  except 
to  think  about  it  and  it  will  put  itself  on  the  paper. 


RATNER:   That's  right,  all  by  itself. 

KISTLER:   Yeah.   These  machines  that  they  have,  that's  done 

by  precipitation  of  some  sort.   I  first  saw  that  in  New 

York  when  I  went  back  there  and  spent  three  years,  and  they 

were  commencing  to  work  with  this  precipitation  and  it 

has--  [tape  recorder  off] 

KISTLER:   There  are  a  lot  of  printing  processes  that  have 

been  worked  out  on  the  basis  of  precipitation  and 

sensitizing  the  paper  to  take  the  image,  so  that  that  was 

just  beginning  to  be  worked  on  during  the  later  fifties  and 

early  sixties  when  I  was  back  in  New  York. 


JANUARY  24,  1989 

RATNER:   I'd  like  to  begin  today  by  discussing  your  long 
and  very  productive  relationship  with  the  artist  Jean 
Chariot,  whom  we've  mentioned  during  our  previous 
discussions.   You  had  told  me  that  Merle  Armitage 
introduced  him  to  you  and  that  the  first  two  projects  you 
worked  on  together  were  the  lithograph  Woman  with  Child  on 
Back  and  the  book  entitled  Picture  Book.   So  I'd  like  to 
move  on  from  those  projects  in  1933  to  a  letter  you 
received  from  Chariot  in  May  of  1935  in  which  he  says--I'm 
quoting  here-- "You  were  handsomely  represented  in  the 
Graphic  Arts  Book  Show  here  in  New  York.   The  school  has  a 
little  gallery  for  shows,  and  I  would  like  next  season  to 
give  a  show  of  your  group  of  lithographers.   I  saw  a  nice 
article  in  Prints  about  you."   What  was  Chariot  doing  in 
New  York  at  that  time? 

KISTLER:   Well,  he  was  just  doing  artwork  and  working 
there,  as  he  usually  did.   He  did  some  lithography, 
principally,  I  think,  for  that  outfit  that  was  marketing 
lithographs  at  that  time.   I  can't  recall  the  name  of  it 

RATNER:   Associated  American  Artists? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  Associated  American  Artists.   He  made  a 
number  of  lithographs  for  them.   There  was  one  of  them  that 


I  printed.   I  sent  a  stone  back  to  Chariot,  and  he  made  a 

drawing  on  it.   And  I  printed  the  edition,  and  it  turned 

out  very  well.   I  can't  remember  what  the  subject  was 


RATNER:   What  was  the  size  of  the  edition  for  something 

like  that? 

KISTLER:   I  think  it  was  about  a  hundred. 

RATNER:   So  when  he  says  in  here  that  the  school  has  a 

little  gallery  for  shows  and  "I'd  like  to  give  a  show  of 

your  group  of  lithographers, "  what  school  was  he  talking 


KISTLER:   Gee,  I  can't  recall,  can't  recall. 

RATNER:   What  about  the  lithographers  he  says  he  wants  to 

show?   Who  might  that  have  been  at  that  time? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I'll  have  to  look  it  up  in  this  book  here, 

just  to  be  sure  that  I'm  reminded  of  them. 

RATNER:   Okay. 

KISTLER:   There  was  Warren  Newcombe  and  Phil  Dike  and  Phil 

Paradise  and  Bob  [Robert]  Majors,  Elise  [Cavanna]  Seeds, 

and--  I'm  trying  to  think  of  the  name  of  that  gal  that  was-- 

[pause]   There  was  Carl  Beetz,  Standish  Backus,  John 

Baldwin,  Thomas  Barr,  Ivan  Bartlett-- 

RATNER:   A  big  group. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   All  of  these  may  not  have  been  represented, 

but  they  were  the  ones  that  I  was  working  with  at-- 


RATNER:   During  those  early  years. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   I'd  have  been  in  that  group.   Jean 

Negulesco  and  Clinton  Adams. 

RATNER:   He  was  a  little  later,  I  think,  wasn't  he,  Clinton 

Adams?   In  the  late  forties? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  he  was  one  of  the  later  ones.   I  guess  that 

he  wasn't  in  that  group  that  was  shown  there.   Beatrice 

Wood  is  the  one  that  I  was  trying  to  think  of.   I'm  trying 

to  get  the  early  ones  that--  Emil  Bisttram,  I  think,  was 

one  of  those  that  I  was  working  with  then.   This  is  the 

early  group.   George  Biddle,  Fanny  Blumberg,  Edwin 

Botsford.   He  was  a  very  competent  artist  and  was  with  an 

advertising  company,  one  of  the  first  ones  that  I  worked 

with.   John  Breneiser  and  Stanley  Breneiser-- 

RATNER:   So  these  are  a  lot  of  the  people  who  were  in  the 

Stendahl  [Gallery]  show,  too,  that  you  had  had  in  '33. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   I  recognize  some  of  those  names.   So  it  sounds 

like  he  was  organizing  some  sort  of  exhibition  while  he 


KISTLER:   Oh,  I  was  into  everything.   In  other  words,  I  was 

not  only  printing,  but  I  was  trying  to  promote  and  trying 

to  get  a  wider  acceptance  of  lithography  as  a  fine  art. 

That  was  my  purpose.   I  was  very  successful  in  getting  a 

lot  of  artists  interested  in  it,  but  as  far  as  reaching  the 


public,  I  didn't  do  so  well  with  that.   Another  very  fine 

artist  was  Tom  [Thomas]  Craig.   He  was  really  a  splendid 

artist.   He  was  also  interested  in  growing  flowers. 

Richard  Day  was  another  one,  one  of  those  early  ones  that 

might  have  been  in  that  show. 

RATNER:   What  about  the  article  in  the  journal  Prints?   I 

think  that  was  one  of  the  very  top  print  periodicals  in  the 

country  at  that  time,  wasn't  it? 

KISTLER:   The  Print  journal?   I  don't  remember  that.   I 

don't  recall  it.   Tom  [Thomas]  Farmer  was  another  one.   Tom 

Farmer  was  the  son  of  the  man  who  promoted  the  first 

Olympics.   Lorser  Feitelson  was  one  of  the  first  ones  that-- 

He  was  a  very  good  artist,  but  I  could  only  get  him  to  do 

one  lithograph  in  all  the  time  that  I've  printed. 

RATNER:   That  was  the  early  thirties?   This  is  like  1935. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   This  is  early,  even  before  '35.   Alexander 

Patrick  Fleming-- 

RATNER:   So  those  are  records  that  you  kept  at  the  time  in 

that  notebook?   Like  receipts  or  something? 

KISTLER:   No,  this  was  a  list  that  I  made  of  the  prints  that 

I  had  that's  an  appraisal  of  what  was  made  down  on  my-- 

RATNER:   I  see. 

KISTLER:   I  believe  that  this  collection  went  to  the 

Smithsonian  Institution  and  is  on  exhibit  there  now.   Gene 

Fleury.   Don  [Donald]  Freeman,  who  was  a  New  York  man. 


RATNER:   The  children's  books. 

KISTLER:   I've  mentioned  him  before.   Mary  Finley  Fry  could 

have  been  in  that  group.   I  don't  suppose  that  all  of  these 

people  would  have  been  in  the  show,  but-- 

RATNER:   No,  that  would  have  been  a  lot. 

KISTLER:   Richard  Haines,  who  was  a  very  fine  artist 

here.   Peter  Hurd  was  another  one  that  I  printed  for.   As  a 

matter  of  fact,  that  was  one  of  the  largest  editions  I  ever 

pulled.   I  think  it  was  five  hundred  prints  that  I  pulled 

on  that. 

RATNER:   You  mentioned  that  last  time,  but  you  couldn't 

remember  the  person's  name.   I  was  going  to  ask  you  if  you 

had  remembered . 

KISTLER:   Yes,  Peter  Hurd.   He  was  a  very  well  known 

western  artist. 

RATNER:   And  that  was  that  early?   The  thirties,  the  early 


KISTLER:   No,  that  wasn't  the  early  thirties.   That  was  in 

the  fifties. 

RATNER:   Maybe  we  could  talk  about  some  of  the  people  you 

printed  later  in  a  little  bit  and  stick  to  the  group  in  the 


KISTLER:   All  right.   Yes,  I'm  trying  to  pick  out  those  of 

the  thirties  now.   Paul  Landacre  was  one  of  those.   Helen 

Lundeberg  was  another  one.   She's  another  one  that  I  did 


just  one  lithograph  with.   Of  course,  Helen  Lundeberg 
finally  became  Lorser  Feitelson's  wife.   Robert  Majors  was 
one  of  those  early  ones.   I  believe  that  Fletcher  Martin 
was  another  one.   [Stanton]  Macdonald-Wright  was  one  of  the 
early  ones,  and  William  E.  McKee  was  an  early  one.   As  a 
matter  of  fact,  William  E.  McKee  was  the  first  one  that  I 
did  any  lithographs  with.   He  was  a  friend  of  the  family 
and  an  artist,  and  he's  the  one  that  made  that  poster  for 
the  First  World  War:   the  farmer  and  the  mechanic  and 
somebody  else,  the  three  of  them  marching  with  the  fife  and 
the  drum  and  the  flag.   A  takeoff  on  that  early 
association.   Ivan  Messenger  was  another  one.   James 
Patrick  was  another  one  in  that  time.   Elmer  Plummer,  James 
Pinto.   Herbert  Ryman,  who  was  the  designer  of  practically 
all  of  Disneyland. 
RATNER:   Oh,  really? 

KISTLER:   A  lot  of  the  attractions  in  Disneyland.   He  had  a 
very  lively  imagination,  and  he  adapted  a  lot  of  the  rides 
and  things  like  that  to  Disneyland,  the  Disneyland 
experience.   Palmer  Schoppe  was  another  one  who  I  worked 
with  in  the  early  times.   As  a  matter  of  fact,  he  worked  as 
an  assistant  to  me.   He  did  my  stone  grinding  and  helped  me 
out  with  the  handling  of  the  paper,  wetting  it  down  and 
flattening  the  prints.   There  was  quite  a  lot  of  just 
regular,  routine  work  that  had  to  be  done,  and  he  helped  me 


with  that. 

RATNER:   Did  you  teach  him  how  to  do  all  that? 
KISTLER:   Yes,  I  did.   He  did  a  lot  of  lithographs.   I  paid 
him  in  lithographs  principally.   [laughter] 
RATNER:   It  was  a  good  deal  for  both  of  you. 
KISTLER:   Yes.   Henrietta  Shore  was  one  of  my  early  ones. 
That  association  of  the  artist  and  Northern  California 
around--  Oh,  what  is  the  name  of  that  place?   I'm  trying  to 
push  myself  too  much  now  and-- 

RATNER:   Did  you  tell  me  one  time  she  lived  in  Carmel? 
KISTLER:   Yes.   I  had  an  association  with  Edward  Weston  and 
that  whole  group  of  artists  there  too  at  that  time,  and 
that  came  through  Merle  Armitage.   Merle  was  very  active, 
and  he  got  me  into  a  lot  of  the  associations  with  the 
artists.   Jack  Martin  Smith  was  one  of  the  early  ones  that 
I  worked  with.   For  a  while  it  seemed  to  me  like  every 
motion  picture  that  came  out.  Jack  Martin  Smith's  name 
appeared  on  it  as  the  art  director.   I  did  work  with  guite 
a  number  of  the  art  directors  at  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer .   He 
was  one  of  them.   Jean  Swiggett,  I  think  that  I  mentioned 
him.   He  was  one  of  those  that  was  in  that  era.   That  just 
about  covers  the  early  ones  that  I  can  remember.   Okay? 
RATNER:   Okay.   So  the  article  in  Prints  is  not  something 
you  remember?   Apparently,  it  must  have  been  an  article 
about  you. 


KISTLER:   Yes,  it  was,  but  I  can't  recall. 

RATNER:   Okay. 

KISTLER:   Do  you  have  the  date  on  it? 

RATNER:   No,  he  didn't  say  that  in  the  letter.   It  must 

have  been  sometime  in  1935  though,  possibly  a  little 

earlier.   Maybe  I  can  track  it  down.   Then  later  in  '35,  in 

July,  Chariot  writes  to  you--he's  still  in  New  York--that 

he's  concerned  about  settling  his  account  with  your  father 

on  the  Picture  Book,  and  he  offers  to  buy  each  book  for  $10 

to  enable  him  to  settle  the  account.   You  had  begun  work, 

we  mentioned,  on  the  Picture  Book  in  1933,  and  this  is  mid- 

'35,  so  I  guess  the  edition  had  not  sold  out  at  that  point. 

KISTLER:   No,  it  had  not. 

RATNER:   What  was  the  reason  for  that  extended  period  of 

time  to  sell  out  the  edition,  do  you  think? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  don't  know.   I  can't  recall  what  the 

circumstances  were  and  how  it  turned  out.   It  just  is 

blotted  out  of  my  recollection.   Where  do  you  get  all  of 

this  information? 

RATNER:   [laughter]   In  the  correspondence  that  you  gave  to 

the  [William  Andrews]  Clark  [Memorial]  Library. 

KISTLER:   It  is? 

RATNER:   Okay,  then  there's  a  jump  in  that  correspondence 

with  Chariot.   I  came  across  a  letter  from  1947,  when  you 

have  returned  from  New  York  to  Los  Angeles,  and  you  have 


written  to  Chariot  about  a  new  register  rack  which  brings 
the  prints,  apparently,  into  perfect  register.   There  was  a 
man  named  Bill  [William]  Philbrook  who  was  apparently 
responsible  for  working  on  that  register  rack  with  you. 
Tell  me  a  little  bit  about  that  innovation. 
KISTLER:   Well,  it  is  a  method  that  I  worked  out  that  was 
unusual.   It  was  a  three-point  register  and  it  was  a  frame 
that  went  around  the  stone,  and  then  there  was  a  rack  that 
you  could  put  on  this  frame.   Then  you  would  lay  the  paper 
to  a  three-point  register  just  like  you  would  in  a  printing 
machine,  and  it  was  a  kind  of  complicated  thing.   You  have 
to  take  it  off  to  pull  it  through  the  press,  but  you  had 
perfect  register,  and  I  could  register  very  rapidly  and 
very  accurately  for  color  work  when  I  commenced  to  work  on 
color  work.   I  worked  out  that  frame  myself,  and  this 
Philbrook  helped  me  in  really  putting  it  together.   I  told 
him  what  I  wanted,  and  he  did  the  work  that  I  laid  out  for 

RATNER:   So  how  often  were  you  tinkering  with  all  the 
various  technical  features? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  all  the  time.   I  was  always  doing  something. 
Experimenting  with  different  acid  strengths  and  things  like 
that,  and  doing  just  blanks  on  stone,  just  grinding  a  stone 
and  laying  some  tones  on  the  stone  and  seeing  how  they 
would  come  out.   I  did  quite  a  bit  of  that  at  that  time. 


too,  just  to  find  out  what  I  could  get  by  the  use  of 

certain  crayons  and  certain  etches  that  I  used.   One  thing 

that  I  found  out  was  that  if  I  put  a  little--  Oh,  let's 

see.   What  is  that  acid  in  it?   I'm  sorry  I'm  so  fuzzy  on 

these  things. 

RATNER:   You're  doing  fine. 

KISTLER:   [pause]   I  can't  think  of  some  of  these  things 

now.   I  can't  think  of  the  names  of  them. 

RATNER:   Well,  you  will  later,  and  then  we'll  get  it. 

KISTLER:   Yeah.   I'm  not  doing  very  good  on  this,  I'm  sure. 

RATNER:   Yes,  you  are.   Don't  worry  about  it.   It's  fine. 

Well,  so  it  was  some  kind  of  acid? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   It  was  recommended,  and  it  was  generally 

the  practice,  to  use  just  nitric  acid  and  gum  in  order  to 

etch  the  stone.   But  we  had  quite  a  bit  of  trouble  with  the 

stone  catching  up  and  filling  and  the  work  spreading.   With 

the  use  of  this  acid  that  I  worked  out,  which  included  two 

other  acids--  Hmm,  I  can't  think  of  the  names  of  them 

now.   Well,  anyway,  it  will  come  to  me. 

RATNER:   So  it  was  an  improved  method  with  the  other  acids. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   [tape  recorder  off] 

RATNER:   In  1947,  and  I  think  actually  even  earlier,  you 

and  Chariot  frequently  worked  through  the  mail.   In  fact, 

you  had  mentioned  that  before. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 


RATNER:   When  he  was  in  New  York,  you  would  send  him  zinc 
plates,  I  guess,  through  the  mail? 
KISTLER:   Uh-huh. 

RATNER:   How  did  you  work  out  that  system?   How  did  that 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  grained  the  plates  and  I  sent  them  back 
to  Chariot,  and  he  drew  on  them.   I  would  then  send  him 
proofs,  and  he  would--  Sometimes  I  would  send  the  plates 
back  with  him,  and  he  would  make  corrections  on  the  plates 
and,  if  it  was  necessary,  take  out  work  he  didn't  want  on 
them.   Then  I  would  pull  the  editions  and  I  would  send  them 
back  to  him.   I  sent  some  stones  back  to  him,  too. 
RATNER:   I  wondered  about  that.   That  must  have  been  very 
expensive  to  send  a  heavy  stone  like  that  through  the  mail. 
KISTLER:   Well,  at  that  time  it  wasn't  as  expensive  as  it 
is  now.   It  would  be  practically  impossible  to  do  it  at  the 
present  time  because  rates  are  so  high,  but  it  wasn't  so 
awfully  expensive  to  do  it.   And  I  had  a  very  nice  box 
worked  out  so  that  you  could  draw  on  both  sides  of  the 
stone  and  clear  out  to  the  edge  if  you  wanted  to.   That  way 
the  artist  could  work  on  both  sides  of  the  stone.   That 
gave  them  an  opportunity  to  get  two  prints  for  the  price  of 
one,  as  far  as  the  shipping  was  concerned. 
RATNER:   How  often,  if  at  all,  actually,  were  the  stones 
damaged  because  they  had  gone  through  the  mail? 


KISTLER:   I  never  had  any  trouble  at  all  with  them. 
I^TNER:   Oh,  that  was  lucky. 

KISTLER:   Yeah,  I  never  once  had  difficulty.   It  worked  out 
very  well,  the  method  I  had.   The  stone  was  held  rigid  in 
the  box  so  it  just  couldn't  move  at  all.   They  were  very 
heavy  plywood  boxes  that  I  had,  so  I  shipped  them  all  over 
the  United  States.   That  way  the  different  artists  who 
wanted  to  work--  I  had  several  boxes  that  I  used  and  sent 
the  boxes  to  the  artists  and  did  quite  a  few  stones  that 

RATNER:   So  even  though,  I  guess,  it  was  a  little  more 
time-consuming,  because  you  had  to  be  sending  the  proofs 
back  and  forth,  it  seems  to  have  worked  out  very  well. 
KISTLER:   Yes.   Lithography  is  a  very  responsive  medium  to 
work  in,  very  well  suited  to  artists  working  with  a  great 
deal  of  freedom,  you  know.   It's  just  like  drawing  on  a 
piece  of  paper.   It  can  be  corrected  and  it  can  be 
modified,  and  you  can  open  the  stones  up  and  redraw  on  them 
if  they  haven't  got  enough  work  on  them.   It's  a  very 
practical  method  of  working. 

RATNER:   Okay.   Then  later  in  '47,  in  the  letter  you've 
written  to  Charlot--this  is  in  regard  to  what  you  were 
saying  about  promoting  the  work--you  said,  "The  prints 
arrived,  and  I  am  getting  them  into  retail  outlets.   I'm 
handling  sales  of  some  of  them  myself.   I  am  sending  a  set 


to  E.  Weyhe  this  afternoon.   The  Chouinard  school 

[Chouinard  Art  Institute]  is  putting  these  later  prints  on 

display  again  and  a  note  that  they  can  be  bought  on  time  as 

we  discussed."   What  kind  of  an  arrangement  did  you  have 

with  these  outlets? 

KISTLER:   Well,  it  was  a  consignment  proposition.   I 

couldn't  get  them  to  buy  the  prints  and  buy  the  editions, 

but  I  would  put  them  up  in  mats  and  frames  and  things  like 

that  in  consignment  to  them.   It  was  an  effort  to  get 

acceptance  of  the  prints.   I  talked  to  different  groups, 

clubs,  and  organizations  of  one  sort  and  another  about  the 

prints  and  tried  to  get  them  to  handle  the  work,  but  I 

never  did  get,  you  know,  the  kind  of  distribution  that  I 

hoped  for.   [laughter] 

RATNER:   How  about  any  of  the  other  art  schools  in  Los 

Angeles?   How  receptive  were  they  to  showing  some  of  the 

prints  and  trying  to  sell  them? 

KISTLER:   There  were  about  a  half  a  dozen  art  schools  in 

Los  Angeles,  and  they  were  all  quite  cooperative  in  working 

with  me.   They  attempted  to  sell  the  work,  both  to  the 

artists  and  to  the  public,  too.   Do  you  have  the  names  of 

those  art  schools? 

RATNER:   Well,  there  was  Otis  [Art  Institute]. 

KISTLER:   Otis  Art  Institute,  yes.   They  had  presses,  but 

they  didn't  have  anybody  that  was  interested  in  developing 


lithography.   There  were  two  or  three  others,  too,  that-- 
RATNER:   During  the  forties  there  was  a  place  called  Jepson 
[Art  Institute] ,  also. 

KISTLER:   Jepson  art  school,  yes.   I  had  some  of  the 
artists  from  Jepson' s,  and  they  were  quite  helpful.   I  will 
have  to  say  that  Chouinard  was  the  most  active  and  the  most 
helpful.   They  sent  the  most  students  to  me.   Richard 
Haines  there  and  Ernie  De  Soto  and,  oh,  quite  a  number  of 
others  came  over  to  me  and  worked  out  prints  with  me.   But 
it  was  all  on  that  $30,  six-stone  deal.   There  wasn't  much 
profit  then-- 

RATNER:   What  does  that  mean? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  had  a  proposition  that  I  would  give  the 
artist  six  stones  that  were  grained,  ready  for  drawing,  for 
$30,  and  I  would  pull  two  prints  for  them.   If  they  wanted 
more,  they'd  have  to  pay  for  them.   I  don't  know,  about 
seventy-five  cents  or  a  dollar  apiece.   So  it  wasn't  a  very 
profitable  thing,  but  it  was  a  promotional  deal,  and  there 
were  quite  a  number  of  the  artists  that  took  it  up.   But 
they  were  short  on  money  the  same  as  I  was.   [laughter] 
There  wasn't  a  great  deal  of  financing  at  that  time.   I 
also  had  the  competition  of  the  WPA  [Works  Progress 
Administration] .   The  government  had  instituted  a  course  in 
lithography  too,  and  some  of  the  artists  that  I  might  have 
gotten  a  few  dollars  from  to  help  me  out--  The  promotion  of 


the  work  was  done  by  and  paid  for  by  the  government  through 

the  WPA.   It  didn't  help  me  out  very  much. 

RATNER:   No,  I  guess  not.   [laughter]   Except  for  I  guess 

it  had--  At  least  there  were  more  people  in  Los  Angeles 

working  on  lithography. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   From  that  standpoint--  It  seems  like,  from  what 

you're  saying  about  Chouinard--  Also,  here  in  another 

letter  from  '47,  you  talk  about  Mrs.  [Nelbert  M. ] 

Chouinard,  who  started  that  art  school.   I  think  one  of  the 

prints  you're  talking  about  when  you  say  that  "The  prints 

have  arrived,  and  I'm  getting  them  into  retail  outlets"--  I 

think  one  of  them  was  Chariot's  Sunday  Dress.   About  that 

you  say,  "I  would  like  to  give  one  set  to  Mrs.  Chouinard 

and  inscribed  to  her,  because  she  has  been  very  helpful 

promoting  sales  among  the  students." 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Well,  that  was  done,  I  know.   Where  it  is 

now,  I  couldn't  say. 

RATNER:   That  was  a  print,  Sunday  Dress,  that  you  had  done 

through  the  mail? 

KISTLER:   No,  no,  that  Sunday  Dress  was  done  in  my  shop  on-- 

I  had  my  shop  at  various  places.   I  had  it  at  Union  [Avenue] 

and  Venice  Boulevard.   I  had  a  little  shop  in  there.   I  had 

my  shop  there  before  I  moved  over  to  Third  [Street]  and 

Carondelet  [Street],  where  I  rented  that  shop. 


RATNER:   Which  is  where  you  must  have  been  in  '47,  Third 
and  Carondelet.   I  think  that's  where  you  went  right  after 
the  war. 
KISTLER:   Yes,  that's  right. 


JANUARY  24,  1989 

RATNER:   Okay,  before  we  flipped  the  tape  we  were  talking 
about  the  location  of  your  studios  and  your  relationship 
with  the  various  art  schools.   How  had  you  met  Mrs. 

KISTLER:  Oh,  I  think  I  went  over  and  said  hello  to  her,  as 
I  recall,  and  told  her  about  my--  Probably  that's  the  way 
that  that  came  about.  I  did  a  lot  of  just  ordinary  contact 
work,  you  know.  Go  in  and  see  people  about  the  proposition 
and  try  to  get  them  interested  in  doing  lithographs  or 
handling  lithographs  or  doing  something  that  had  to  do  with 

RATNER:   So  in  addition  to  all  the  things  we've  talked 
about  already  in  '47--I  guess  that  was  really  a  busy  year 
for  you--in  December  of  that  year.  Chariot  writes  to  you 
and  mentions  that  you've  been--  He  must  have  curated  a 
show,  I  guess,  because  he  says  that  you've  been  mentioned 
in  his  catalog  foreword  with  appropriate  honors  for  a  show 
called  "Brooklyn  Museum  Retrospective  Print  Show,  1913- 
1947."   You  had  apparently  loaned  some  lithographs  for  that 
show.   Brooklyn,  of  course,  was  really  in  the  forefront  at 
that  time  for  collecting  and  exhibiting  prints.   Tell  me 
about  that  exhibition  and  your  involvement  with  it. 
KISTLER:   Well,  I  just  sent  prints  to  it.   I  don't  remember 


just--  I  sent  everything  that  I  could.   All  the  artists 

that  had  recognition.   I  think  that  they  paid  me  for 

sending  them.   I'd  mount  them  up  and  send  them  in.   There 

was  quite  a  bit  of  recognition  of  the  work  in  Brooklyn  at 

that  time. 

RATNER:   How  involved  was  Chariot  in  that  exhibition? 

KISTLER:   Well,  many  of  the  prints  that  I  had  made  for  him 

up  to  that  time  were  in  the  exhibition.   I  know  that  I  sent 


RATNER:   It  just  seems  like,  from  what  he  says,  that  he 

either  helped  curate  it  or  he  did  curate  it  by  himself, 

since  he  says  in  his  catalog  foreword--  Or  maybe  he  just 

wrote  the  foreword,  I  don't  know. 

KISTLER:   Probably. 

RATNER:   Here's  an  example  of  when  you  were  talking  about 

promoting  the  work.   In  1948  you're  talking  about  how 

actively  you're  promoting  Chariot's  work,  and  you've  just 

sent  his  Sunday  Dress  and  The  Tortilla  Lesson  to  a  national 

print  show  in  Washington.   When  you  were  working  through 

the  mail  like  that,  how  did  you  work  out  the  aesthetic 

decisions  in  terms  of--?  I  know  you  would  send  him  proofs, 

but  what  about  the  size  and  the  size  of  the  edition  and 

things  like  that?   Who  made  those  decisions? 

KISTLER:   Well,  the  artists  usually  made  them  or  we  made 

them  together.   I  did  an  awful  lot  of  work  just  on 


speculation,  you  know,  hoping  that  we'd  sell  the  prints. 
So  if  I  did  make  any  money  from  the  editions  that  I 
printed,  why,  I  put  the  profits  right  back  into  the 
promotion  of  the  work  of  lithography.   I  was  really  very 
enthusiastic  about  it  and  just  devoted  all  my  time  and 
effort  to  the  promotion  of  lithography.   I  still  think  that 
it's  a  wonderful  medium.   The  only  thing  is  that  it's  too 
facile  in  a  lot  of  ways.   Because  it's  so  easy  to  make 
these  prints  and  buy  lithography,  people  don't  value  them 
in  the  way  that  they  should.   They're  really  very  fine 
works  of  art. 

Usually,  it's  necessary  to  have  a  collaboration  in 
order  to  turn  out  a  lithograph.   Because  a  lithographer  has 
to  work  at  it  every  day--  And  I  did  work  at  it  every  day. 
It's  just  like  playing  a  musical  instrument.   If  you're  not 
doing  it  all  the  time,  why,  you  get  so  that  you're  stale  at 
it.   So  if  you  don't  have  a  sufficient  amount  of  work,  if 
you  don't  have  contacts,  if  you  don't  have  the  work  coming 
to  you  all  the  time,  why,  you  won't  turn  out  good  work. 
The  more  work  that  you're  turning  out,  why,  the  better  work 
you're  turning  out,  because  you  keep  your  hand  at  it.   It's 
necessary  to  have  skills  in  the  making  of  the 
lithographs.   It's  necessary  to  have  actual  physical  and 
mechanical  skills.   Those  are  important.   The  average 
person  can  take  up  with  the  lithograph,  but  if  they  don't 


keep  at  it  all  the  time,  keep  alert  on  the  skills  that  are 

necessary,  why,  they  won't  get  good  work.   Just  like 

anything  else,  it  is  a  skill  that  takes  constant 

practice.   [pause]   Isn't  that  funny?   I  can't  think  of  the 

name  of  those  acids. 

RATNER:   It  will  come  to  you  later.   Moving  on  with 

Chariot,  then--  Well,  from  what  you  were  saying,  it  was 

obvious  that's  why  he  wanted  to  continue  to  work  with 

you.   That's  the  difference  between  a  master  printer  and 

somebody  else,  which  is  why,  I  guess.  Chariot  was  willing 

to  work  through  the  mail,  because  he  wanted  to  work  with 

you.   Because  you  had  such  a  long  relationship.   In  the 

spring  of  '49--  Apparently  he  had  been  in  Colorado  Springs 

for  some  time,  where  I  think  he  was  running  an  art  school. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   He  left  there  in  the  spring  of  '49  and  was 

considering  opening  a  small  printing  school  in  Los 

Angeles.   What  happened  to  that  idea? 

KISTLER:   He  was? 

RATNER:   Yes. 

KISTLER:   I  don't  remember  a  thing  about  that. 

RATNER:   Okay.   Then  we  move  on-- 

KISTLER:   He  was  head  of  the  art  department  of  the 

University  of  Colorado,  and  he  worked  with  Lawrence  Barrett 

over  there. 


RATNER:   Barrett  was  a  printer? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Yes,  he  was  a  printer  and  very  well 
known.   Chariot  went  over  there  as  a  teacher,  and  he  was 
more  interested  in  teaching  than  he  was  in  administration. 
They  wanted  to  put  him  in  charge  of  the  art  department,  the 
administration  of  the  art  department  at  the  University  of 
Colorado.   He  left  there  because  they  insisted  on  it,  and 
that's  when  he  went  to  Hawaii.   He  went  to  Hawaii  as  a 
teacher,  and  I  don't  think  that  he  had  any  duties  beyond 
teaching.   He  was  interested  in  art  and  in  archaeology  and 
things  like  that  that  had  to  do  with  art.   He  was 
interested  in  philosophy  and  languages  too,  to  the  extent 
that--  Well,  it  was  amazing  to  me.   French  was  his  native 
tongue.   He  went  to  Mexico  and  learned  the  Mexican  language 
and  one  of  the  ancient  Indian  languages.   He  mastered  it. 
When  he  went  to  Hawaii,  why,  he  took  up  Hawaiian  and 
learned  to  speak  all  of  these  languages  and  wrote  a  series 
of  plays  in  the  Hawaiian  language. 
RATNER:   Wow,  a  very  versatile  man. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  he  was  a  scholar,  and  he  was  very  bright  and 
very  much  interested  in  everything  that  he  associated 
himself  with.   He  was  very,  very  strict  in  his--  In  the 
observance  of  his--  He  was  very  religious.   He  had  what  I 
thought  were  some  very  cute  things  that  came  up  that  had  to 
do  with  his  religion,  his  ethics.   There  was  an  art 


collector  in  Los  Angeles  here  that  was  very  active  in 
building  an  art  collection  and  was  buying  modern  artists. 
When  Chariot  came  to  town,  why,  Armitage  got  him  in  touch 
with  this  man.   When  he  met  this  man--  I  won't  mention  his 
name,  but  when  he  met  this  man,  Zohmah  [Day  Chariot]  was-- 
He  came  to  Los  Angeles  to  see  Zohmah,  really,  because-- 
RATNER:   Who  would  be  his  wife. 

KISTLER:   His  wife,  yes,  at  his  home.   She  was  a  young  girl 
and  didn't  have  any--  Well,  she  was  just  a  young  girl. 
That's  the  only  way  to  put  it.   She  was  with  Chariot  when 
he  met  this  man.   This  man  asked  Chariot  to  come  to 
dinner.   He  said,  "Miss  so-and-so.  Miss  Zohmah,  we'd  like 
to  have  you  come,  too."   But  when  the  actual  invitation 
came  through  to  come  to  this  dinner,  why,  it  was  just  for 
Chariot  and  not  for  Zohmah,  too.   So  Jean  asked  this  man, 
he  says,  "Isn't  Miss  Day  invited,  too?"   And  this  man  said, 
well,  he  didn't  think  that  she'd  fit  into  the  group  and 
that  she  wouldn't  be  interested  anyway.   It  would  be  best 
just  for  him  to  come  alone.   And  Chariot  said,  "Well,  in 
that  case  I  won't  be  able  to  attend  either,"  which  I 
thought  was  a  very  fine  gesture  for  him  to  make,  because 
this  man  was  really  buying  prints  and  artwork  in  Los 
Angeles.   So  he  got  Zohmah  there,  too. 

Some  of  his  religious  predilections  entered  into  this 
thing,  these  associations,  too,  which  I  thought  were  very 


amusing  and  indicative  of  the  integrity  of  the  man.   He  was 
a  very  strict  Catholic.   At  that  time  the  Catholics  all  had 
to  eat  fish  on  Friday,  and  he  was  religious  about  it.   Some 
of  these  parties  turned  out  to  be  on  Friday,  and  he 
wouldn't  attend  unless  he  could  have  fish.   He  used  to  come 
to  our  house  on  Friday  night  and  stay  over  until  Monday 
morning  when  I  was  living  and  working  at  Patricia  Avenue 
and  had  my  press  down  in  my  garage.   He'd  insist  on  having 
fish  every  Friday.   We  weren't  very  crazy  about  it,  but  we 
were  fond  of  him,  and  so  we  had  fish.   So  along  in  the  time 
while  we  were  working  together  there,  why,  the  Catholic 
church  decided  that  it  would  no  longer  be  necessary  for 
them  to  have  fish  on  Friday,  that  they  could  dispense  with 
that  particular  thing.   So  the  first  time  he  came  to  our 
house  after  the  necessity  to  eat  fish  had  been  removed  from 
the  Catholics,  why,  I  said,  "Well,  come  on  over  to  the 
house  tonight  and  we'll  have  fish."   He  said,  "Lynton,  you 
know,  I'm  a  little  tired  of  fish."   I  thought  it  was  so 
cute.   [laughter]   But  that's  indicative  of  the  way  that  he 
ran  his  life.   He  had  his  ideas  about  everything. 

But  he  was  very  generous  with  his  students.   I  saw 
some  of  the  most,  well,  inept  students  make  drawings.   You 
know,  their  first  efforts  were  almost  childish.   And  it 
didn't  make  any  difference  how  bad  the  drawing  was,  why,  he 
didn't  dwell  on  how  bad  it  was,  but  he  would  always  find 


something  about  them  that  was--  He  would  say,  "Well,  that's 

a  very  nice  idea  that  you  have  there,  and  it  needs  a  little 

here."   He  didn't  intimidate  his  students.   He  tried  to 

encourage  even  the  most  inept  students  that  he  had,  and 

some  of  them  were  pretty  bad,  of  course,  and  never  did  get 

very  far.   He  would  always  find  something  that  was 

interesting  or  something  that  he  could  point  out  to  them, 

and  that  was  the  reason  that  he  was  so  popular  with  the 

students.   I  think  that  he's  one  of  the  most  popular 

teachers  that  I  ever  ran  into. 

RATNER:   Was  his  wife  related  to  the  artist  Richard  Day? 

KISTLER:   No,  no. 

RATNER:   No,  just  a  coincidence.   Well,  it  seems  like  maybe 

after  he  left  Colorado  Springs  that  he  thought  for  a  while 

about  coming  to  Los  Angeles  before  he  went  on  to  Hawaii, 

because  there's  a  letter  from  you  to  him  in  October  1952, 

and  in  the  postscript  you  mention  that  the  Los  Angeles  Art 

Institute  is  going  to  be  changing  directors.   You  say  that 

Lorser  Feitelson  and  Kenneth  Ross  are  in  line  for  the 

job.   "Both  are  friends  of  mine, "  you  say.   "Would  you  like 

to  have  me  contact  them  in  regard  to  your  being  engaged 

there?"   What  do  you  recall  about  that? 

KISTLER:   Nothing  came  of  it.   He  went  to  Hawaii.   Yes, 

that's  really  what  had  transpired. 

RATNER:   But  he  had  initially  hoped  to  come  back  to  Los 



KISTLER:   No,  he  became  enamored  with  Hawaii.   He  fit  in 

there  with  the  culture,  with  the  life  in  Hawaii.   It  is  a 

delightful  place  to  live.   And  Chariot  was  at  home  no 

matter  where  he  was,  because  he  had  a  love  of  people  and  a 

tremendous  art  interest.   He  settled  in  there  very  easily, 

bought  a  home  there,  and  did  teaching.   He  taught  in  the 

university,  was  very  well  known  and  very  well  liked  by  all 

the  students.   I  never  ran  into  a  student  that  didn't  like 

Chariot . 

RATNER:   How  well  did  you  know  Kenneth  Ross,  who,  I  guess, 

did  become  director  of  the  L.A.  Art  Institute? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  never  had  much  contact  with  him.   He  had 

his  own  niche  and  I  had  mine,  and  he  wasn't  much  interested 

in  what  I  was  doing. 

RATNER:   Oh,  okay. 

KISTLER:   He  was  interested  in  the  school  itself.   They  did 

have  a  lithograph  press  there,  but  they  never  did  much  with 

it,  because  there  was  no  one  that  was  sufficiently 

interested  that  got  it  off  the  ground  in  the  Los  Angeles 

Art  Institute. 

RATNER:   I  guess  if  Lorser  Feitelson  had  taken  that  job, 

things  might  have  been  a  little  bit  different. 

KISTLER:   Probably  would.   But  I  don't  think  that 

lithography  would  have  gone  any  further  than  it  did  anyway. 


because  Lorser  was  not  interested  in  lithography  as  a 
medium  of  expression.   He  did  one  lithograph.   The  only  one 
that  he  ever  did  in  his  life,  he  did  with  me.   It  was  a 
beautiful  lithograph,  well  done  and  everything.   He  had  all 
the  skills  and  the  materials,  but  he  and  his  wife,  neither 
one  could  I  get  to  do  more  than  one  lithograph.   And  they 
didn't  work  with  anybody  else  either. 
RATNER:   They  just  wanted  to  paint,  I  guess. 
KISTLER:   Yes,  they  were  interested  in  painting. 
RATNER:   Okay,  moving  on  with  Chariot  then.   We  move  up  to 
1961.   You've  written  a  letter  to  Chariot,  and  I'm  quoting 
here.   You  say,  "The  news  about  the  Metropolitan  Museum  is 
very  much  appreciated.   I  do  think  it  most  generous  of  you 
to  include  me  in  this  honor.   Your  generosity  is  fully 
appreciated."   What  was  all  that  about? 

KISTLER:   Well,  the  Metropolitan  Museum  of  Art  got  a  lot  of 
his  work.   And  I  had  quite  a  bit  of  recognition  from  the 
Metropolitan  Museum  in  New  York  because  of  Chariot's  work 
and  because  they  were  impressed  with  what  I  was  doing 
because  of  Chariot ' s  promotion  of  the  efforts  that  I  was 
making.   So  that  when  I  went  back  to  New  York  during  the 
war,  they  made  an  effort  to  get  me  to  stay  there  at  that 
time,  but  I  didn't  want  to  locate  to  New  York. 
RATNER:   Who  were  they?   The  Metropolitan? 
KISTLER:   The  Metropolitan,  yes. 


RATNER:   Because  they  were  already  aware  of  your-- 

KISTLER:   Yes,  they  were  already  aware  of  my  work.   They 

didn't  want  to  put  up  any  money  or  anything  like  that. 

They  didn't  offer  me  any  jobs,  but  they  did  try  to  get  me 

to  do  in  New  York  what  I  was  doing  in  Los  Angeles .   But 

there  were  several  people  working  in  New  York-- [George] 

Miller  principally,  really — who  were  doing  a  very  good  job 

there,  so  I  didn't  try  to  break  into  that  field. 

RATNER:   But  still  that  must  have  been  very  flattering  for 


KISTLER:   Yes,  it  was.   But  New  York  is  that  way.   They  try 

to  get  all  of  the  people  that  they  can  there  that  are  doing 

any  work  at  all.   They  try  to  get  them  to  work  in  New  York 

if  possible. 

RATNER:   When  you  say  that  the  Metropolitan  received  a 

number  of  Chariot's  works,  how  did  that  happen?   Through 

donation  or  purchase? 

KISTLER:   Purchase,  I  believe.   Yes,  they  have  a 

considerable  collection  in  New  York  there  of  his  work,  both 

the  lithographs  and  paintings. 

RATNER:   Okay,  then  there's  another  big  jump  in  the 

correspondence  to  1970,  where  you  discuss  in  the  letter 

with  Chariot  the  proofs  for  a  print  called  Hawaiian 

Drummer .   It  seems  that  it  was  quite  involved.   What  can 

you  tell  me  about  that  project? 


KISTLER:   Well,  I  don't  remember  now.   I  think  that  there 
was  quite  a  bit  of  correction  and  things  like  that  that  had 
to  be  made  on  the  stone .   I  don ' t  know  whether  he  was 
here.   He  must  have  been  here  to  work  on  it.   He  went  back 
to  Hawaii,  I  believe,  before  it  was  finished,  and  we  had  to 
do  some  of  the  corrections  and  things  like  that  after  he 
had  gone  to  Hawaii.   So  that's  what  that  was  about. 
RATNER:   I  have  a  copy  of  the  letter  here,  and  it  says,  "I 
had  much  trouble  with  the  background  due  to  the  tusche  you 
used  and  was  relieved  to  get  as  much  from  it  as  I  did. 
There  are  some  faults  in  register  still,  and  some  areas 
will  need  some  correction.   This  can  be  done  here  with  a 
correction  sheet  from  you." 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  don't  know,  that  says  about  all  that  I 
could  say  about  it.   There  just  were  corrections  made  on 
it.   I  don't  recall  what  they  were.   I  remember  that  there 
was  a  red  plate  that  was  added  after  he  got  to  Hawaii  that 
improved  the  print  considerably. 

RATNER:   So  once  he  was  in  Hawaii,  his  subject  matter  began 
to  reflect  what  he  was  seeing  there? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  that  is  true.   His  work  is  pretty  well 
contemporary  with  his  residence. 

RATNER:   I  guess  he  had  also  in  this  print  reversed  his 
signature,  not  realizing,  I  guess,  that  the  offset  press 
eliminated  the  need  to  reverse  the  image.   Then  you  go  on 


to  say,  "New  materials,  inks,  and  lacquers  now  make 
possible  this  way  of  working,  making  lithography  more 
responsive  to  the  artist's  talents  and  removing  many  of  the 
difficulties."   So  you  were  pleased  with  working  in  this 
method  apparently. 

KISTLER:   Well,  Hawaiian  Drummer  was  done  on  stone. 
RATNER:   Hmm,  well,  maybe--  It  seems  like  that's  what 
you're  talking  about  in  this  letter,  but  maybe  it's 
something  else.   Hmm.   I  don't  know. 

KISTLER:   Yeah,  I  don't  think  that  that  can  be  in  regard  to 
Hawaiian  Drummer,  because  that  was  done  on  stone. 
RATNER:   Maybe  there's  a  little  piece  missing  from  the 
letter  or  something.   It  seems  like  that's  what  you're 
talking  about,  but  I  guess  not.   Okay,  well,  what  I  thought 
maybe  we  would  do  is  go  ahead  and  wrap  it  up  here,  because 
the  next  thing  I  wanted  to  talk  about  was  Picture  Book  No. 
II,  which  you  began  in  1971,  and  that  was  kind  of  a  big 
project.   Maybe  we'll  just  pick  up  with  that  next  time  and 
talk  about  that  whole  project,  and  then  the  last  portfolio 
that  you  did  with  Chariot  as  well. 


JANUARY  31,  1989 

RATNER:   At  our  last  meeting,  we  were  talking  about  your 
long  relationship  with  the  artist  Jean  Chariot,  and  I 
thought  we'd  continue  discussing  your  work  with  Chariot 
today.   In  October  of  '71,  you  and  Chariot  began  discussing 
a  second  Picture  Book,  which  would  be  called  Picture  Book 
[No. ]  II,  and  I'm  wondering  what  inspired  the  idea  to  go 
ahead  with  that  project. 

KISTLER:   Well,  Peter  Morse  was  a  moving  spirit  in  that 
book.   He  was  so  intrigued  by  the  work  that  I  had  done  and 
the  success  of  the  first  Picture  Book  that  he  had  wanted  to 
have  another  Picture  Book  printed.   So  he  arranged  the 
financing  on  it,  and  we  went  ahead  with  it.   It  was  handled 
by  mail  entirely.   Chariot  was  in  Hawaii,  and  I  was  in  Los 

The  equipment  on  which  it  was  printed  was  a  good  deal 
different  than  on  the  first  Picture  Book.   There  was  a 
period  of  some  forty  years  between  the  two  Picture  Books, 
so  by  that  time  I  had  my  own  plant  and  I  had  my  equipment 
set  up  on  West  Washington  Street.   I  was  doing  nothing  but 
lithographs  directly  drawn  on  the  plate,  and  I  was  not 
doing  any  photographic  work,  or  very  little,  at  that 
time.   I  had  worked  out  a  method  of  registry  that  proved  to 
be  quite  effective  and  very  easy  to  use,  but  there  was  some 


photography  that  was  included  in  it.   The  artist  drew  on 
the  plate  the  right  way  a  linear  outline  for  each  one  of 
the  pictures  that  he  was  going  to  draw  in  color  later. 
Then  I  took  that  outline  and  I  took  a  naked  negative  from 
it  and  printed  it  down  on  each  one  of  the  plates.   For  each 
color  that  was  used  in  the  picture,  I  made  a  print,  an 
outline,  and  that  way  Chariot  could  draw  right  to  the  area 
of  color  where  he  wanted  to  use  the  various  colors.   I  just 
printed  two  pictures  at  a  time,  and  I  didn't  have  eight 
pictures  on  a  plate  as  I  did  in  the  first  Picture  Book.   It 
made  it  a  little  more  colorful.   We  could  print  with  less 
colors  and  get  a  good  deal  different  effect  in  the  second 
Picture  Book  than  we  had  for  the  first.   Jack  Lord,  the 
motion  picture  actor  who  was  in  Hawaii,  was  the  one  that 
furnished  the  finances  for  that  book. 
RATNER:   So  it  wasn't  sold  through  subscriptions? 
KISTLER:   It  wasn't  by  subscription,  no.   But  Peter  Morse 
is  the  one  responsible  for  getting  the  whole  thing  together 
and  getting  Lord's  finances  on  it. 
RATNER:   And  who  was  Peter  Morse? 

KISTLER:   Well,  Peter  Morse  is  a  friend  of  Jean  Chariot's, 
and  he  is  very  knowledgeable  in  art  and  is  especially 
interested  in  oriental  art.   At  the  present  time,  he  is 
working  on  a  catalog  of  the  work  of  Hokusai .   He  has  been 
in  Japan  several  times  to  work  directly  in  that  country 


with  the  Hokusai  prints,  and  he  is  considered  the  most 

outstanding  authority  on  the  Hokusai  art  at  this  time, 

oriental  art  and  Hokusai  in  particular. 

RATNER:   So  at  the  time  he  lived  in  Hawaii--that ' s  how  it 


KISTLER:   Yes,  he  lives  in  Hawaii  and  is  in  Hawaii  now, 

working  on  this  Hokusai  catalog. 

RATNER:   So  what  did  Jack  Lord  get  in  return  for  putting  up 

the  money? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  I  think  he  got  a  hundred  books  or  something 

like  that  for  putting  up  the  money.   As  I  recall,  I  got 

about  $26,000  for  doing  the  job.   It  was  a  big  job. 

RATNER:   And  who  distributed  the  books? 

KISTLER:   Jake  Zeitlin. 

RATNER:   So  he  handled  that  end  of  it. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   And  given  the  success  of  Picture  Book  number  one, 

how  did  Picture  Book  II  sell? 

KISTLER:   Well,  the  edition  has  never  been  exhausted,  but 

it  has  had  very  wide  distribution.   The  subject  matter  in 

Picture  Book  II  was  mostly  Hawaiian  and  some  South  Seas 

experiences  of  Jean's. 

RATNER:   I  wanted  to  ask  you  a  technical  question  about  it, 

too.   I  was  reading  one  of  the  letters  between  you  and 

Chariot  from  October  of  '72,  and  it  talks  about  splitting 


colors  on  the  plate.   What  exactly  does  that  mean? 
KISTLER:   Well,  it  didn't  work  out  very  well  and  we  didn't 
follow  through  on  that,  but  what  we  planned  at  first--  We 
had  two  images  on  the  plate,  and  we  were  going  to  run  on 
half  the  press  one  color  and  on  the  other  half  run  another 
color.   But  it  didn't  work  out  well,  so  we  didn't  follow 
through  on  it,  and  we  just  ran  one  color  on  a  plate. 
RATNER:   What  would  have  been  the  advantage  of  doing  that 
had  it  worked  out? 

KISTLER:   Well,  we  could  get  a  greater  variety  of  colors 
that  way. 
RATNER:   I  see. 

KISTLER:   We  only  used  four  colors  on  each  one  of  the 
plates  that  we  had.   On  each  one  of  the  pictures  in  the 
book,  we  just  used  four  colors.   So  it  cut  down  the  number 
of  colors  that  we  could  use.   For  instance,  we  could  run 
red,  yellow,  blue,  and  black  on  one  side,  and  we'd  run  a 
chartreuse  and  an  orange  and  a  powder  blue  and  gray  on  the 
other  picture,  all  at  one--  If  it  worked  out.   But  it 
wasn't  practical  to  do  that,  so  we  didn't  carry  through 
with  it. 

RATNER:   That  must  have  been  costly  to  do  that.   Would  it--? 
KISTLER:   No,  it  wouldn't  have  been  costly,  but  it 
complicated  the  problem  too  much  to  match  both  of  those 
colors.   Another  thing,  the  mechanism  on  the  press  didn't 


lend  itself  to  printing  it  that  way.   There's  an 
oscillation  on  the  rollers,  you  know,  to  distribute  the 
ink.   It  works  back  and  forth,  as  well  as  around  like 
that.   We  had  to  cut  down  the  oscillation  of  the  rollers  in 
order  to  keep  the  colors  from  mixing,  and  that  didn't  prove 
to  be  a  practical  answer  either.   We  didn't  go  through  with 

RATNER:   So  how  disappointed  was  Chariot  that  he  wasn't 
able  to  use  these  additional  colors? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  not  too  disappointed.   It  worked  out, 
nevertheless,  that  we  needed  extra  colors.   Our  basic 
colors  were  four  different  colors  in  each  one  of  the 
pictures,  and,  if  necessary,  why,  we  ran  an  extra  color  to 
give  a  difference  in  it.   It  wasn't  necessary  for  us  to  do 
that  very  often,  but  I  think  that  we  did  that  several 

I  had  a  great  deal  of  help  from  the  Cans  Ink 
Company.   They  furnished  all  of  the  ink  on  the  job  for  me, 
and  all  of  our  colors  were  mixed  to  a  match.   They  all  had 
to  be  permanent  colors  so  they  wouldn't  fade,  and  the  color 
matches  had  to  be  very  accurate.   Sometimes  we'd  have  to 
get  two  or  three  mixes  on  one  color  before  we  got  to  just 
what  we  needed.   Cans  Ink  Company  furnished  all  of  the  ink 
on  the  job.   Bob  [Robert]  Cans  was  very  helpful  in 
following  through  with  that.   He  went  out  of  his  way  to 


give  us  what  we  wanted.   To  mix  colors  it  costs,  especially 

to  mix  just  the  one  pound,  and  we  never  needed  more  than 

one  pound  for  a  run.   To  mix  a  pound  of  ink  it  costs  a  good 

deal  more  than  what  he  got  for  it.   As  a  matter  of  fact,  he 

furnished  a  lot  of  ink  without  cost  to  us.   I  gave  him  a 


RATNER:   [laughter]   Because  you'd  had  such  a  long 

relationship  with  him? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  did.   But  he  cooperated  with  me  and  was  a 

very  fine  friend  and  very  supportive  of  my  work. 

RATNER:   That's  great.   I  also  read  in  a  letter  from  about 

this  time,  while  you  were  working  on  Picture  Book  II,  that 

you  were  apparently  having  some  difficulty  getting  plates. 

You  said  something  about  the  fact  that  you  had  ordered  some 

from  Chicago  in  September  and  they  had  yet  to  arrive. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   Why  was  it  so  difficult  to  be  getting  plates  at 

that  time,  in  the  early  seventies? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  don't  recall  why  it  was,  but  I  think  that 

that  had  to  do  with  the  graining.   We  were  having  a  hard 

time  getting  the  proper  grain.   As  a  matter  of  fact,  today 

it  is  almost  impossible  to  get  plates  grained  the  way  that 

you  want  them,  because  for  this  handwork  it  takes  a  little 

coarser  grain  than  we  used  to  use  on  the  plates  for 

commercial  work.   The  plates  that  were  furnished  at  that 


time,  most  of  them  didn't  have  a  grain  on  them  at  all.   I 
went  all  over  the  country  trying  to  get  a  little  coarser 
grain  on  the  plates  than  they  were  willing  to  put  on 
them.   Even  people  that  were  in  the  business  of  working 
with  artists,  they  didn't  seem  to  understand  at  that  time 
that  different  grains  were  necessary  on  the  plates  for 
different  results.   I  even  went  into  graining  by,  oh,  the 
people  who  grained  for  us,  you  know,  and  put  a  grain  on  the 
glass,  and  I  did  get  some  satisfactory  results  that  way, 
but  I  didn't  work  with  it  long  enough. 

Along  about  the  time  they  were  closing  the  plant,  I 
had  to  quit  working  entirely  because  I  got  to--  Well,  my 
pressman  became  ill  and  quit,  and  I  was  commencing  to  get 
difficulty  with  my  breathing  and  things  like  that,  and  so  I 
decided  to  close  my  plant,  too.   I  was  financially  able  to 
do  it  at  that  time,  and  so  I  just  closed  the  plant  rather 
than  try  to--  It  became  apparent  to  me  at  that  time  that 
lithographic  work  should  be  carried  on  in  a  plant  that  was 
completely,  oh,  air-conditioned,  and  that  would  have  been  a 
very  expensive  thing.   At  the  same  time,  I  would  have  had 
to  train  a  pressman.   It  was  with  a  great  deal  of 
reluctance  that  I  did  close  my  plant  for  those  two 
factors:   the  fact  that  it  would  have  cost  me  literally 
thousands  of  dollars  to  properly  air-condition  my  plant  and 
the  fact  that  I  would  have  had  to,  at  the  same  time,  train 


another  pressman. 

My  pressman  that  left  me  at  that  time  was  Ernest 
Perry.   He  was  very  cooperative,  although  much  of  the  time 
we  didn ' t  agree  on  how  things  should  be  done .   But  we 
always  came  to  an  understanding  before  we  went  ahead.   He 
very  often  did  things  on  the  press  that  I  asked  him  to  do 
that  were  out  of  the  ordinary.   For  one  thing,  at  that  time 
we  printed  a  plate  for  Marcia  Maris--that  is  Peter  Morse's 
wife--with  a  plate  that  was  drawn  to  print  four  colors  from 
one  plate.   That  was  done  by  running  the  four  colors 
separately  and  turning  the  plate  a  quarter  of  the  way 
around  and  returning  it  to  four  different  positions  and 
printing  one  color  over  the  other.   And  the  design  fit 
exactly.   To  start  with,  I  can't  imagine  getting  another 
artist  that  could  draw  so  that  you  could  rotate  the  plate 
that  way  and  get  a  result  out  of  it.   That  was  the  first 
problem.   Then  there  was  a  problem  on  the  press  turning  it 
around.   My  pressman  was  not  in  favor  of  doing  it  at  all, 
but  my  plant  was  an  experimental  plant,  and  we  did  a  lot  of 
things  that  were  unorthodox  as  far  as  work  was  concerned. 
Marcia  Maris,  who  is  at  the  University  of  Hawaii  now  as  one 
of  the  instructors,  also  made  a  plate  with--  There  are 
twenty-eight  plates  [for  the  print  Rainbow  Castle]  that  she 
made  with  separate  colors.   It  was  all  made  of  little  dots, 
and  there  was  a  white  line  between  all  of  these  dots.   With 


the  method  of  registry  that  I  had  worked  out,  it  was 
possible  to  make  the  twenty-eight  plates,  and  all  twenty- 
eight  plates  fit  exactly.   We  got  perfect  register  so  that 
the  twenty-eight  plates  printed  just  exactly  where  they 

RATNER:   That  must  have  been  an  interesting  print. 
KISTLER:   It  was.   Well,  both  of  those  were  interesting, 
and  they  were  indicative  of  the  experimentation  that  we  did 
in  the  plant  and  the  lengths  that  I  was  willing  to  go  to  to 
achieve  a  different  result.   Marcia  Maris,  I  believe,  has  a 
set  of  progressive  proofs  of  each  one  of  the  plates 
separately,  so  that  you  can  see  how  they  are  put 
together.   That's  either  in  her  hands  or  it's  in  the  hands 
of  the  Smithsonian  Institution,  I  don't  know  which  now. 
RATNER:   So  when  you  were  working  on  Picture  Book  II,  it 
was  you  and  Ernest  Perry  in  your  plant  at  the  time  who 
printed  that. 
KISTLER:   That's  right. 

RATNER:   So  it  was  just  the  two  of  you. 

KISTLER:   He  deserves  a  lot  of  credit  for  the  work  on  the 
Picture  Book.   It  was  under  my  direction  that  we  used  this 
method  of  registry  that  I  found  to  be  so  effective. 
RATNER:   I  also  read  in  a  letter  from  November  of  '72  that 
the  assistant  curator  of  prints  from  the  Los  Angeles  County 
Museum  of  Art  [Joseph  Young]  was  coming  to  your  plant  to 


see  the  printing  of  Picture  Book  II  in  process.   What  came 

of  that  visit? 

KISTLER:   Gee,  I  don't--  [pause]  I  don't  remember  it, 

really.   I  don't  remember  it. 

RATNER:   Was  a  copy  of  Picture  Book  II  purchased  by  the 


KISTLER:   I  think  that  it  was,  yes. 

RATNER:   So  Picture  Book  II  was  ready  for  delivery  in  July 

of  '73,  and  you  personally  took  it  to  Hawaii  to  Jean 

Chariot.   After  you  returned  you  wrote  to  him  saying--I'm 

quoting  here-- "I  had  no  desire  to  see  Jack  Lord  on  my  trip 

to  Hawaii.   The  delivery  was"--I  guess  this  must  have  been 

to  Zohmah  [Day]  Chariot-- "for  Jean  and  Peter,  so  there  was 

no  disappointment.   I  am  put  out,  however,  that  Jean  was 

not  invited  to  this  presentation."   End  of  quote.   So 

evidently  the  relationship  with  Jack  Lord  had  maybe  turned 

a  little  bit  sour.   What  happened  there? 

KISTLER:   Well,  it  was  at  this  point  I  had  spent  quite  a 

bit  of  money  getting  over  to  Hawaii.   It  was  expensive  to 

get  there,  and  I  thought  that  I  would  see  on  that  trip--  I 

really  put  in  a  whole  day  waiting  around  just  to  present 

the  book  to  him,  and  I  was  disappointed,  but  there  were  no 

hard  feelings  about  it.   I  know  that  he  was  busy  and  that 

it  was  difficult  for  him  to  get  away.   He  did  keep  me 

waiting  all  day  long,  saying  that  he  would  be  there  in  an 


hour,  or  two  hours  or  something  like  that.   Instead  of 

enjoying  the  island  I  had  to  wait  at  Jean's  house  for  Jack 

Lord  to  show  up,  and  he  never  did  show  up.   I  spent  the 

whole  day  in.   But  I  did  meet  Lord  before,  and  he  was  very 

gracious  with  me.   There's  no  hard  feelings  about  it.   It's 

just  indicative  of  the  pressure  under  which  Lord  was 

working  at  that  time. 

RATNER:   What  was  the  presentation  that  you  were  talking 

about?   You  said,  "I  am  put  out,  however,  that  Jean  was  not 

invited  to  this  presentation. " 

KISTLER:   I  don't  remember  about  what  that--  What  I  told 

you  now  is  what  transpired  there. 

RATNER:   Okay.   Then  shortly  after  you  returned- - 

KISTLER:   I  don't  care  about  having  that  included  in  this. 

RATNER:   Okay,  we  can  talk  about  how  you  can  take  that  out 

if  you  want. 

KISTLER:   I  don't  want  to  cast  any  reflection  on  Lord, 

because  I  appreciate  the  fact,  as  far  as  I  was  concerned, 

that  he  did  put  up  the  money  for  the  book.   I  could  also 

appreciate  the  fact  that  he  was  a  very  busy  man  and  that  he 

had  a  lot  of  difficulties,  a  lot  of  things  going  at  the 

same  time  that  I  was  there  and  that  had  to  be  taken  care 

of,  and  for  that  reason  he  missed  seeing  me.   So  I  didn't 

necessarily  feel  slighted  or  anything  like  that. 

RATNER:   Okay.   In  September  of  '73,  not  too  long  after  you 


had  returned  from  Hawaii,  you  began,  through  correspondence, 
to  discuss  with  Chariot  the  production  of  a  miniature  book, 
with  Dawson's  Book  Shop  handling  the  distribution. 
KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   Tell  me  about  how  you  decided  which  book  to 
produce  as  a  miniature  and  about  that  whole  project. 
KISTLER:   Well,  that  was  the  first  Picture  Book.   I've  got 
one  out  in  there.   I'll  give  you  one.   I  took  the  Picture 
Book  itself  and  reduced  it  in  four  colors  to  a  small  book, 
a  miniature  book,  and  the  reason  I  did  it  was  that--  Jean 
wrote  the  original  text  for  the  Picture  Book.   He  wanted  to 
sell  the  book  in  France  as  well  as  the  United  States,  and 
so  he  got  the  ambassador  to  Brussels--  Now  then,  that  name 
skips  my  mind  just  when  I  want  to  bring  it  up.   Paul 
Claudel.   He  got  the  ambassador,  Paul  Claudel,  to  write  his 
version  of  the  pictures  in  the  original  Picture  Book. 
RATNER:   Claudel ' s  version. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   I  thought  that  Jean's  text  was  so 
interesting  that  it  ought  to  be  preserved  in  some  way,  and 
so  I  got  out  this  little  picture  book  that  was  principally 
to  give  Jean's  version  of  the  pictures.   That  was  done 
quite  a  few  years  later.   Let's  see,  that  was  done  in  the 
sixties,  I  think. 

RATNER:   ' Seventy- three,  I  have  here,  I  think  it  happened. 
KISTLER:   Yes. 


RATNER:   What  was  the  relationship  with  Dawson's?   Did  they 

publish  a  lot  of  miniature  books,  or  why  were  they  so 

interested  in--?  Apparently,  they  approached  you  and  asked 

if  you  would  be  interested  in  producing  a  miniature. 

KISTLER:   Dawson's?   Well,  I  had  a  relationship  with 

Dawson's  over  the  years.   I  think  I  told  them  about  it,  and 

they  said  they  would  like  to  handle  the  book  and  would  like 

to  be  the  publishers. 

RATNER:   How  well  did  that  sell? 

KISTLER:   Well,  it's  sold  very  well.   I  think  that  I 

printed  three  hundred  copies,  and  we  sold  half  of  them 

anyway  and  we  gave  away  quite  a  few. 

RATNER:   So  that  was  completed  forty  years  after  the  first 

Picture  Book.   That  must  have  made  a  nice  companion  piece 

for  people  who  had  collected  the  first  one. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   What  kind  of  equipment,  special  equipment,  did  you 

need  to  print  a  miniature  like  that? 

KISTLER:   I  printed  it  on  a  regular  press.   It  didn't  take 

any  special  equipment.   It  took  a  lot  of  special  work 

though,  special  binding.   The  A-1  Binding  Company  did  a 

beautiful  binding  job  on  it,  made  a  nice  little  slipcase 

for  it. 

RATNER:   What  did  it  sell  for? 

KISTLER:   A  hundred  dollars. 


RATNER:   How  about  the  Picture  Book  II?   What  did  that  sell 


KISTLER:   I  don't  recall.   I  don't  recall  what  that  sold 

for.   I  could  find  out  from  Peter  Morse. 

RATNER:   I  was  just  curious  about  the  difference  in  the 

prices  from  the  first  Picture  Book,  which  I  guess  sold  for 

$15.   Is  that  correct? 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   How  the  prices  have  changed  in  forty  years. 

KISTLER:   I  think  that  it  sold  for--  It  must  have  sold  for 

$125.   And  the  special  edition,  which  had  a  sketch  bound  in 

of  one  of  the  plates,  sold  for  $500,  I  think. 

RATNER:   And  those  were  signed? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  they  were  signed,  too. 

RATNER:   Then  later  in  '73,  December,  you  mention  in  a 

letter  to  Chariot  that  your  friend  Carl  Haverlin,  who  we 

mentioned  before,  had  volunteered  to  present  some  material 

on  the  fortieth  anniversary  of  the  Picture  Book  to  Time 

magazine.   What,  if  anything,  came  of  that? 

KISTLER:   Nothing.   Nothing  came  of  it,  I'm  sure.   There 

may  be  an  article  on  it,  but  I  don't  recall  it.   Carl 

Haverlin  was  the  manager  of  Broadcast  Music  Incorporated 

[BMI],  and  he  had  quite  an  important  job  in  New  York  and  in 

the  industry.   He  is  the  one  that  set  up  an  opposition  to 

ASCAP  [American  Society  of  Composers,  Authors,  and 


Publishers] ,  who  were  attempting  to  take  over  the  whole 
radio  industry  at  that  time.   He  got  the  radio  stations 
together  and  researched  a  lot  of  work,  everything  that  he 
could  find  in  the  field  of  the  public  domain.   He  gathered 
all  of  the  public  domain  work,  in  which  there  was  no 
copyrights  or  the  copyrights  had  expired,  and  he  made  them 
available  to  the  industry  so  that  they  didn't  have  to 
depend  upon  ASCAP ' s  copyrights.   That  way,  why,  he  kept  the 
TV  industry  free  of  monopoly  by  ASCAP.   He  was  quite  an 
important  man  in  the  industry  and  a  boyhood  friend  of  mine, 
so  when  I  was  in  New  York,  why,  I  printed  a  catalog  of  all 
of  the  things  that  were  in  the  public  domain  for--  [tape 
recorder  off]  The  things  that  were  in  the  public  domain 
were  published  by  BMI  and  made  available  to  the  industry, 
and  I  printed  it  at  the  Blanchard  Press,  where  I  was 
working  at  that  time  when  I  was  in  New  York.   That  is  one 
job  that  I  did  in  New  York. 

Another  one  is  when  the  war  broke  out  there.   I  was 
working  at  Blanchard,  and  I  got  together  a  booklet  of  the 
silhouettes  of  all  of  the  planes  that  were  available.   And 
we  published  that  for  the  public  defense  people  so  that 
they  could  recognize  any  of  the  planes  that  came  over--the 
German  planes  principally.   We  published  the  complete  book 
of  all  of  the  German  planes  at  that  time,  and  that  was  done 
for  the  Richfield  Oil  Company,  and  they  distributed  them. 


JANUARY  31,  1989 

RATNER:   Okay,  before  we  flipped  the  tape,  you  were  just 
telling  me  a  little  bit  about  some  of  your  jobs  in  New 
York.   If  you  had  anything  else  to  add,  you  could. 
Otherwise,  we  could  go  ahead  and  talk  about  Chariot  again. 
KISTLER:   Well,  we  can  go  ahead  and  talk  about  Chariot.   I 
have  nothing  to  add  to  that. 

RATNER:   Okay.   Following  the  project  with  the  miniature, 
apparently  Chariot  went  to  Caracas  for  a  while--this  was  in 
the  fall  of  '74--and  you  sent  him  some  plates  there. 
Though  it  seems  that  by  this  time  zinc  was  becoming 
unavailable  and  you  had  to  send  him  aluminum.   Why  was  the 
zinc  so  difficult  to  come  by? 

KISTLER:   The  metal  plates  that  we  were  using  were  those 
that  were  used  on  the  offset  press.   Originally,  the  plates 
were  of  zinc  but  they  found  that  aluminum  worked  a  lot 
better  than  zinc,  as  far  as  the  commercial  industry  was 
concerned,  and  so  they  had  no  reason  to  roll  this  thin  zinc 
anymore.   So  the  zinc  plates  are  impossible  to  get,  even  to 
the  present  day.   I  spent  an  awful  lot  of  time  trying  to 
find  out  where  I  could  buy  the  zinc,  and  I  couldn't  get  it 
at  all.   The  zinc  lithographic  plates,  for  handwork,  are 
more  sensitive  to  the  drawing  on  the  plate  than  plates 
drawn  on  aluminum.   But  the  aluminum  runs  cleaner  and  is 


easier  to  keep  from  filling  and  easier  to  keep  from 
scumming  up.   They're  sensitive  to  the  grease  and  are  more 
sensitive  to  gum  arabic,  and  for  that  reason  they  were 
preferred  in  the  industry.   We  had  to  depend  upon  the 
materials  that  were  available  to  the  industry  in  doing  our 
lithographs  on  the  offset  press.   That  was  a  consideration 
there.   It  doesn't  have--  Did  I  make  it  clear? 
RATNER:   Yes. 

KISTLER:   The  zinc  plates  were  better  for  the  artwork,  the 
work  that  was  put  on  the  plate,  but  they  were  very 
difficult  to  keep  open,  keep  them  from  scumming.   The 
aluminum  plates  were  not  quite  as  sensitive,  but  they  were 
not  as  liable  to  scum  or  fill  in,  and  they  were  easier  to 
keep  open  in  production.   For  that  reason  the  industry  had 
gone  to  aluminum  plates,  and  they  no  longer  rolled  the  zinc 
plates.   As  far  as  I  know,  those  thin  zinc  plates  were  the 
only  reason  that  they  rolled  zinc  in  the  first  place. 
RATNER:   How  was  it  working  through  the  mails  to  a  foreign 
country  like  that? 

KISTLER:   Well,  Chariot's  daughter  had  married  a  man  who 
was  in  the  oil  business  in  Caracas,  Venezuela.   He  and  his 
wife  went  down  there  to  Venezuela  to  visit  them.   At  the 
same  time,  why,  we  had  a  project  making  a  lithograph.   The 
Little  Seamstress  I  think  it  is  called.   So  I  sent  two 
plates  down  there,  all  prepared  for  printing,  and  that  put 


a--  Well,  the  whole  thing  was  handled  by  mail.   They  were 
down  in  Caracas  for  a  couple  of  months  visiting  his 
daughter,  and  we  handled  the  whole  thing  by  mail.   Of 
course,  the  mail  was  very  slow  between  the  United  States 
and  Caracas,  and  we  had  some  trouble  with  the  immigration 
people  about  getting  these  plates  back  after  I  had  sent 
them  down  there.   Jean  had  drawn  them.   I  had  a  hard  time 
getting  them  out  of  the  immigration  department,  because 
they  wanted  to  put  a  price  on  the  plates  because  they  came 
from  a  foreign  country.   But  I  went  down  there  and  talked 
them  out  of  it.   They  released  them  without  charging  me 
anything  in  the  way  of  a  fee  for  getting  them  out  of  the 
immigration  department. 

But  we  handled  the  whole  thing  by  mail.   I  sent  the 
plates  down  there.   It  took  two  or  three  weeks  to  get  the 
plates  down  there  and  two  or  three  weeks  to  get  them  back 
up  here.   We  were  using  aluminum  plates  at  that  time,  but 
even  at  that,  it  made  it  very  difficult  for  me  to  get  out 
of  the  drawing  what  Chariot  had  put  on  it,  because  the 
plates  had  a  decided  tendency  to  fill  by  the  time  that--  It 
had  taken  two  or  three  weeks  to  get  them  down  there,  and 
then  it  took  Jean  a  month  or  so  to  do  the  plates.   It  was 
in  a  tropical  country,  and  it  was  hot  and  sticky  there. 
Then  he  sent  them  back,  and  it  took  two  or  three  weeks  to 
get  them  from  Venezuela  to  the  United  States  again.   And 


they  stuck  around  in  the--  Not  the  immigration  but  the-- 
RATNER:   Customs? 

KISTLER:   Customs  department  for  a  week  before  I  could  get 
them  out  of  there,  so  they  were  really  a  mess  by  the  time  I 
got  ahold  of  them.   It  was  one  of  the  most  difficult 
printing  jobs  that  I  ever  did  to  get  anything  out  of  those 
plates  because  of  the  way  that  they  were  handled,  the  lapse 
of  time  and  the  fact  that  they  were  done  in  a  tropical 
country,  hot  and  sticky.   I  really  had  a  job  on  my  hands. 
RATNER:   Yeah,  it  sounds  like  it. 

KISTLER:  But  we  did  get  a  very  presentable--  The  Little 
Seamstress,  that  was  the  name  of  the  lithograph.  It  was 
done  in  two  colors. 

RATNER:   Once  you  actually  had  it  there  to  print,  how  much 
extra  time  did  it  take  because  of  all  those  problems? 
Because  it  started  to  fill  in  and  things  like  that. 
KISTLER:   Well,  I  don't  know  how  much  extra  time  I  put  in 
on  the  art  form  or  whatever.   I  know  that  it  was  difficult. 
Not  time-wise,  as  far  as  that  was  concerned,  so  much  as  it 
was  the  elapsed  time  between  the  time  I  sent  the  plates 
down  there  and  the  fact  that  they  went  through  so  much 
handling  and  so  much  time  elapsed  after  the  drawing  was  put 
on  the  plates  and  the  elapsed  time  between  when  they  were 
drawn  and  when  they  were  printed  that  made  the  difficulty. 
RATNER:   I  see,  I  see.   Okay,  then  we  move  ahead  to 


February  of  '76,  and  you  apparently  made  another  trip  to 

Hawaii,  this  time  for  the  launching  of  the  Jean  Chariot 

catalog  of  prints  [Jean  Chariot's  Prints:  A  Catalogue 

Raisonne] .   Who  organized  that? 

KISTLER:   Peter  Morse  did.   That  is  a  resume  of  prints  of 

Jean  Chariot.   My  work  is  represented  in  there,  and  all  of 

the  prints  that  I  printed  are  designated  there.   I  have  a 

copy  of  it  if  you  want  to  see  it. 

RATNER:   Yeah,  I ' d  be  interested. 

KISTLER:   Isn't  there  one  at  the  [William  Andrews]  Clark 

[Memorial]  Library? 

RATNER:   No. 

KISTLER:   I  have  a  copy  of  it  here. 

RATNER:   Okay,  then  I  came  across  a  letter  from  July  of  '76 

from  Chariot  to  you,  where  he  says,  "Regarding  yours  of  28 

July,  saying  that  using  colors  for  the  text  is  a  new  idea 

and  would  cost  more  came  as  a  surprise.   I  enclose  passages 

from  my  letter  explicitly  stating  my  desire  to  use  color 

from  the  beginning.   If  we  can't  resolve  it,  it  would  be 

the  first  failure  in  our  long  collaboration  and  nothing  to 

rejoice  about."   But  I  couldn't  figure  out  what  project  he 

was  talking  about. 

KISTLER:   I  couldn't  say.   Using  color  for  the  text? 

RATNER:   Yeah. 

KISTLER:   I  don't  know  why  you  should  want  to  use  color  in 


the  text. 

RATNER:   That's  what  it  said,  but  it  didn't  make  any 

reference  to  which  work  he  was  talking  about. 

KISTLER:   Well,  it  must  have  been  the  second  Picture  Book, 

but  there  would  be  no  reason  to  use  multiple  colors  on  the 


RATNER:   It  was  a  little  later  than  that.   I  was  just 

curious  what  had  happened  there. 

KISTLER:   Yeah,  well,  we  resolved  that. 

RATNER:   Whatever  it  was. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   Okay.   Then  by  February  '78  you  have  sold  your 

plant,  as  you  mentioned  earlier,  and  you  sent  to  Chariot 

what  you  hoped  would  be  the  last  draft  of  the  prospectus 

for  the  portfolio  of  the  Melanesian  images.   I  don't  know 

how  to  pronounce  that. 

KISTLER:   I'm  not  an  expert.   I  just  pronounce  it  the  way 

it's  spelled,  Kei  Viti. 

RATNER:   Okay.   So  anyway,  you  sent  him  what  you  hoped 

would  be  the  final  prospectus  for  that.   That  turned  out  to 

be  a  portfolio  that  used  a  rather  large  format.   It 

contained  eight  original  lithographs  printed  in  four  to  six 

colors.   The  paper  size  was  20"  X  26",  and  the  image  was 

16"  X  20".   How  did  this  project,  which  was  your  final 

collaboration  with  Chariot,  how  did  that  evolve? 


KISTLER:   Well,  I  just  wanted  to  do  a  portfolio  of  Jean's 

work  in  full  color.   He  had  been  down  to  the  Pacific 

islands.   So  he  wanted  to  make  some  lithographs,  and  we  got 

together  a  portfolio.   I  think  his  portfolio  is  at  the 

Clark  Library. 

RATNER:   Yes,  I  saw  it. 

KISTLER:   I  had  one  here,  but  it's  packed,  ready  for 

shipping,  and  I-- 

RATNER:   I  did  see  the  portfolio  at  the  Clark. 

KISTLER:   You  did  see.   There  were  only  five  lithographs  in 

that.   But  it  turned  out  very  nicely. 

RATNER:   Was  that  sold  through  subscription  also? 

KISTLER:   No,  it  was  just  published  on  speculation. 

RATNER:   And  how  successful  was  it? 

KISTLER:   Very  successful.   We  sold  all  of  them  except  one 

or  two  that  I  kept,  one  for  each  one  of  my  grandchildren. 

I  have  one  that  is  wrapped  here,  ready  to  ship  to  one  of  my 

grandchildren  now,  when  he  settles  down  and  is  ready  to 

keep  it,  when  he  has  a  place  to  keep  it. 

RATNER:   I  guess  it  sold  for  $600,  I  have.   The  portfolio 

sold  for  $600  and  the  individual  prints  sold  for  $175. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   What  was  Jake  Zeitlin's  involvement  in  the 

project?   I  came  across  his  name  in  reference  to  it. 

KISTLER:   Well,  he  undertook  to  sell  them. 


RATNER:   To  sell  them  for  you.   So  was  he  involved  from  the 


KISTLER:   Yes.   He  didn't  put  up  any  money.   I  think  that  I 

financed  that  printing  of  it. 

RATNER:   Then  later,  in  July  of  '78  in  a  letter  from  you  to 

Zohmah  Chariot,  you  say,  "Unless  we  can  get  someone  to  buy 

the  plates  and  take  a  tax  deduction  on  them,  our  best  out 

is  to  get  an  appraisal  on  the  plates  and  donate  them  to  the 

Smithsonian  Institution  as  stated  in  our  brochure."   What 

happened  there? 

KISTLER:   It  went  to  the  Smithsonian.   One  way  I  made  a 

little  money. 

RATNER:   Good  for  you.   [laughter]   So  that  was  your  final 

project  with  Chariot.   He  died  not  too  long  after  that,  I 


KISTLER:   That's  right.   He  was  quite  ill  at  the  time  that 

he  finished  his--  He  was  settled  in  his  own  mind  that  he 

was  on  his  way  out  and--  But  he  did  a  very  nice  job  on  it. 

RATNER:   Whose  idea  was  it  to  go  with  the  larger  format  on 


KISTLER:   Well,  I  guess  it  was  mine. 

RATNER:   So  during  your  long  collaboration  with  Jean 

Chariot,  you  produced  more  than  250  lithographs.   Quite  a 

sizable  number. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 


RATNER:   How  would  you  explain  the  longevity  of  your 
relationship  with  him? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  very  pleasant.   He  used  to  come  out  to  my 
house  when  I  first  started,  and  we'd  work  on  weekends. 
When  I  started  out,  I  did  my  work  down  in  the  garage,  and 
it  was  a  collaboration  then.   The  neighbors--  Well,  the 
neighbor  across  the  street  from  me,  who  was  kind  of  fussy 
about  things,  got  upset  and  went  to  the  city  and  tried  to 
put  a  stop  to  it.   I  told  them,  "I'm  not  charging  anything 
for  doing  these  prints  at  all.   They're  a  recreation  and 
it's  not  a  business.   It  just  happens  that  I've  got  a  press 
there  in  my  garage  and  that  I'm  doing  them  there.   But  I'm 
not  selling  anything. "   So  it  squashed  the  whole 
business.   The  artists  were  coming  to  my  place  at  that 
time,  and  sometimes  they  would  fill  up  the  street  pretty 
well  with  cars,  which  made  the  parking  a  little  difficult 
right  there  at  the  time.   But  I  felt  as  though  I  was 
entitled  to  deal  with  this.   It  was  a  recreation,  and  I  had 
people  at  my  house  to  enjoy  recreation  with  me.   It 
couldn't  be  interfered  with.   So  he  didn't  get  to  first 
base  with  it. 

RATNER:   So  how  would  you  explain--?  Obviously,  you  and 
Chariot  were  very  compatible  in  order  to  be  able  to  work 
together  for  so  long,  especially  the  fact  that  you  worked 
through  the  mail  for  a  good  part  of  the  time  because  he  was 


living  in  Hawaii  for  so  many  of  those  years.   What  was 
it?   I  mean,  how  do  explain  that  longevity?   For  instance, 
you  didn't  work  with  somebody  else  for  so  many  years,  but 
with  him  you  must  have  been  simpatico  in  some  way. 
KISTLER:   Well,  I  don't  know.   He  liked  my  work,  and  I 
enjoyed  doing  it.   That's  the  only  way  that  I  can  explain 
it.   I  had  quite  a  number  of  artists  that  I  had  a  long 
association  with,  that  were  with  me  for  a  long  time. 
RATNER:   Was  there  something  about  his  philosophy  towards 
printing  or--? 

KISTLER:   Well,  he  liked  the  way  I  printed. 
RATNER:   Just  liked  the  way  you  printed.   Okay,  good 

KISTLER:   I  followed  his  desires,  I  followed  his 
instructions,  and  the  work  came  out  onto  my  hand  the  way 
that  pleased  him.   So  he  brought  all  of  his  work  to  me. 
RATNER:   If  you  had  to  pick  one  particular  project  or  one 
particular  print  that  was  a  favorite  to  do  with  him,  does 
anything  stand  out  in  your  mind? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  think  that  Picture  Book  number  one  was 
the  highlight  of  our  whole  relation.   It  was  early.   Many 
things  happened--  When  Chariot  first  came  to  me,  we  had  a 
book  underway  for  Henrietta  Shore  [Henrietta  Shore] ,  who 
was  a  friend  of  Jean  Chariot's.   It  was  all  just  about 
ready  to  put  together,  and  Jean  said,  "Well,  gee,  you  ought 


to  have  a  picture  of  Henrietta  in  there."   We  said,  "Well, 
we  haven't  got  a  photograph  or  anything."   And  he  said, 
"Well,  I'll  draw  a  picture."   So  he  made  a  two-color 
lithograph  which  we  printed,  a  lithograph  that  we  printed 
at  my  father  [William  A.  Kistler]'s  plant.   It  wasn't  a 
spitting  image  of  Henrietta  Shore.   It  was  a  little  bit 
wild,  you  know.   When  Henrietta  saw  it,  why,  she  plumb 
nearly  dropped  to  the  floor,  because  she  didn't  know  that 
it  was  going  to  be  in  there.   It  was  a  surprise.   She  got 
very  upset  about  it,  but  finally  she  realized  that  it  was 
what  it  was  and  it  was  a  very  nice  thing,  and  she  became 
very  fond  of  it.   But  it  didn't  make  her  out  to  be  a  movie 
star  or  anything.   [laughter]   But  that  was  one  of  the 
things  that  came  up. 

I  told  you  about  the  difficulties  that  Chariot  had 
with  the  print  collector.   Yeah.   I  think  since  his  name  is 
not  mentioned  there  that  that's  all  right  to  tell  it,  don't 

RATNER:   Fine.   I  couldn't  figure  out  who  it  was. 
KISTLER:   Let's  see,  what  was  his  name?   Well,  he  was  a  big 
collector  in  Los  Angeles  here.   But  I  thought  it  was 
indicative  of  Chariot's  character  the  way  that  he  acted, 
the  fact  that  he  had  refused  to  go  to  this  dinner.   There 
had  been  a  tentative  invitation,  and  it  wasn't  carried 
through.   So  he  told  the  man  that  he  wouldn't  come  unless 


Zohmah  was  invited. 

RATNER:   So  is  there  anything  else  about  Chariot  that  you 

would  like  to  add  before  we  finish  this  little  session 

talking  about  him? 

KISTLER:   Let's  see. 

RATNER:   Of  course,  if  you  think  of  something  later,  that's 

fine,  too.   But  just  if  you  think  of  anything  now. 

KISTLER:   Yeah.   I  can't  think  of  anything  else  right  now. 

I  told  you  about  coming  in  about  the  fish  on  Fridays,  which 

I  thought  was  kind  of  cute. 

RATNER:   Okay,  well,  we'll  finish  up  here  then  and  pick  up 

with  your  return  from  New  York  another  time. 


FEBRUARY  21,  1989 

RATNER:   We  spent  our  previous  two  meetings  talking  about 
your  relationship  with  Jean  Chariot.   I  thought  that  we 
would  back  up  today  and  talk  about  your  return  to  Los 
Angeles  from  New  York  following  the  war.   We've  discussed 
that  briefly  during  some  earlier  meetings,  but  I  thought  we 
could  talk  about  it  a  little  bit  more  in  depth  today.   I 
know  you  came  back  to  Los  Angeles  in  1945  when  you  set  up  a 
shop  in  your  house--I  guess  you  purchased  a  house  at  Third 
[Street]  and  Carondelet  Street--at  which  time  you  decided 
that  you  would  work  exclusively  as  a  fine  art  lithographer. 
How  did  you  come  to  that  decision? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  had  severed--  We  had  severed  our  relation 
in  the  East,  that  is,  and  had  decided  to  come  back  to  Los 
Angeles,  and  the  war  was  ending  at  that  time.   I  hadn't 
been  able  to  carry  on  the  kind  of  activity  that  I  had 
planned  in  working  with  artists  through  the  wartime.   I 
hadn't  found  any  application  there  for  the  work.   I  had 
this  house  on  Patricia  Avenue.   It  had  increased  in  value 
considerably,  and  I  practically  had  it  paid  for,  so  it  gave 
me  capital  to  go  ahead  and  put  in  a  plant.   I  made  up  my 
mind  that  I  was  going  to  go  ahead  with  the  work  in  working 
with  artists.   So  I  sold  the  house,  and  I  had  sufficient 
capital  to  buy  a  house  at  Third  and  Carondelet,  and  we  set 


up  our  lithograph  business  there.   We  lived  upstairs.   It 
was  a  two-apartment  flat,  and  the  upper  part  of  the  house 
we  used  for  living,  and  downstairs,  why,  I  put  in  a  gallery 
and  a  workshop,  moved  my  stones  and  things  into  the  lower 
part  of  the  house  and  started  soliciting  artists  and  the 
people  at  Chouinard  art  school  [Chouinard  Art  Institute] 
and  several  other  art  schools  that  were  operating  at  that 
time.   They  sent  their  students  over  to  me.   There  were 
three  or  four  other  art  schools--I  can't  remember  the  names 
of  them--but  Chouinard  was  the  principal  art  school  here. 

The  University  of  California,  through  Stanton 
Macdonald-Wright,  who  I  had  done  work  for  before  I  went 
East--  He  was  in  charge  of  the  art  department  at  UCLA.   He 
arranged  to  have  the  teachers  at  UCLA  come  down  to  my  shop 
and  learn  about  lithography  from  me.   Of  course,  they  did 
lithographs  at  my  shop,  and  that's  the  way  that  I  got 
along.   Amongst  them  was  Clinton  Adams,  who  was  one  of  the 
instructors  at  UCLA,  and  June  Wayne,  who  was  not  connected 
with  the  university,  but  she  walked  into  my  plant  one 
day.   She  was  sent  there  by  a  friend  of  hers--I  can't 
recall  his  name  right  now  [Jules  Langsner] --but  she  wanted 
to  learn  about  lithography.   I  had  an  arrangement  that  I 
had  made  as  an  introductory  offer,  which  was  of  no  profit 
to  me  at  all  financially,  but  I  thought  it  would  get  the 
artists  interested  in  the  work.   June  came  in  and  looked 


around  the  place,  and  I  told  her  about  this  proposition 
that  I  had  to  print  six  prints.   I  prepare  the  stone  and 
give  her  instruction  on  the  drawing  of  the  lithographs  on 
six  of  the  stones  and  would  attempt  to  sell  any  of  the  work 
that  she  produced.   I  had  complete  arrangement  of  the  sale 
of  the  prints  and  also  the  printing  of  the  prints  worked 
out.   For  $30,  why,  I  agreed  to  do  these  six  stones.   She 
said  that  she  didn't  think  that  was  any  sort  of  a  deal  that 
she  would  be  interested  in.   It  didn't  seem  like  I  had 
earned  my  $30,  and  she  wouldn't  have  any  part  of  it.   And 
after  looking  around  for  about  thirty  days,  at  the  end  of 
thirty  days  she  came  back  to  me  and  said  that  she  would 
like  to  have  individual  instruction  in  lithography  from  me, 
and  she  paid  me  quite  well.   But  she  was  the  kind  of  a 
person  that  wanted  complete  attention  when  you  were  working 
with  her.   She  didn't  want  anybody  else  around  at  all.   She 
even  wanted  me  to  clear  out  the  rest  of  the  plant  and  give 
instruction  to  her  and  have  my  time  available  completely, 
which  if  it  was  convenient  for  me  to  do  and  make 
arrangements,  why,  I  did.   I  worked  with  her  that  way 
directly.   We  made  quite  a  number  of  lithographs. 

But  even  at  that,  there  was  not  sufficient  income  from 
the  whole  setup  that  I  had.   I  couldn't  generate  enough 
activity  to  continue  in  the  work  as  an  exclusive  thing,  and 
the  property  that  I  had  bought  had  increased  in  price  in 


the  four  or  five  years  that  I  was  at  Third  and 
Carondelet.   To  the  point  where  I  found  that  I  could  go 
into  commercial  work  and  do  so  much  better  that  I  decided 
that  I  would  continue  with  the  stone  work  as  far  as  I 
could,  and  in  the  new  plant  that  I  set  up  I  bought  two 
offset  presses  and  went  into  commercial  work.   Of  course,  I 
was  experienced  in  commercial  printing  at  that  time.   I  was 
able  to  go  into  business,  and  I  had  a  name  in  the  Los 
Angeles  area  as  being  a  successful  printer,  and  so  I've 
built  up  a  very  nice  business.   I  could  never  become 
completely  out  of  the  artistic  business.   The  artists  kept 
coming  to  me  to  do  lithographs,  so  I  commenced  to  work  out 
a  deal  where  I  could  handle  the  work  on  an  offset  press 
rather  than  on  the  stone  work. 

RATNER:   Which  is  what  you  were  doing  exclusively  at  Third 
and  Carondelet,  correct,  just  stone  work? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  was  doing  it  exclusively.   So  then  I  sold 
the  property  at  Third  and  Carondelet  and  took  the  money  and 
put  it  into  a  plant  on  Temple  Street.   I  never  did  get  over 
the  idea  of  working  with  the  artists,  and  I  converted  many 
of  them  to  lithographs  that  were  printed  on  offset  press. 
As  far  as  I  know,  I  was  one  of--  Well,  the  first  one,  I 
guess,  that  went  into  the  business  of  printing  fine  art  on 
offset  presses.   For  a  while  I  did  have  my  stone  presses 
there  too  and  I  did  some  work  on  the  stone  press.   Those 


artists  that  were  able  to  work  with  me,  why,  I  converted 
them  to  the  offset  work,  and  they  did  very  well  with  it. 

As  long  as  zinc  plates  were  available,  which  were  the 
plates  that  were  first  used  in  the  offset  work,  why,  it 
went  very  well.   Then  they  commenced  to  bring  the  aluminum 
plates  into  use  and  banned  the  zinc  plates.   They  quit 
making--rolling--zinc,  so  it  was  not  available  to  offset 
work,  and  I  had  to  work  it  out  in  aluminum.   The  difference 
there  is  that  the  zinc  plates  have  many  of  the 
characteristics  of  stone.   The  zinc  is  sensitive  to  the 
same  materials  that  you  use  on  stone.   But  they  are  also 
very  difficult  to  print  because  they  have  a  tendency  to 
fill.   You  have  to  have  a  very  skillful  pressman,  and  you 
have  to  be  very  careful  in  working  with  them  or  your  work 
will  fill  up  and  you'll  lose  your  design.   I  was  able  to 
overcome  those  characteristics.   By  the  time  it  was  almost 
impossible  to  get  zinc  plates,  why,  the  aluminum  plates  had 
taken  over,  and  I  had  to  convert  to  aluminum  plates  rather 
than  zinc  plates. 

RATNER:   About  what  year  was  that  that  you  couldn't  get 
zinc  anymore? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  I  don't  have  any  dates  in  mind. 
RATNER:   Like  by  the  sixties  or  something?   Or  later  than 
KISTLER:   Yes,  in  the  sixties.   I  found  that  some  of  my 


artists  could  convert  very  well,  and  it  gave  me  more  of  an 
opportunity  to  work  in  color  than  I  had  before.   Jean 
Chariot  and  Stanton  Macdonald-Wright  and  one  or  two  others, 
Millard  Sheets,  all  had  a  color  concept  and  could  work  in 
both  the  zinc  and  the  aluminum,  and  I  worked  out 
considerable  work.   It  was  drawn  directly  on  the  plates. 

I  printed  Picture  Book  No.  II.   It  was  financed  by 
Jack  Lord;  it  was  promoted  by  Peter  Morse.   Jean  Chariot 
drew  a  second  Picture  Book,  thirty- two  lithographs,  and 
made  quite  a  different  proposition  for  me  to  work  with, 
because  I  could  only  print  two  pictures  at  a  time  on  the 
press,  whereas  in  the  first  Picture  Book  we  did  eight 
pictures  on  a  sheet  at  a  time.   My  presses  were  smaller. 
They  were  more  up-to-date. 

I  did  quite  a  bit  of  color  work  and  experimental  work 
in  converting  the  original  lithographs  drawn  on  the  plate 
to  the  offset  press.   I  worked  out  methods  of  registration 
and  working  with  the  Cans  Ink  Company,  and  we  developed 
inks  that  were  suitable  for  the  artwork.   They  mixed  the 
colors  for  me  just  the  way  that  the  artists  wanted  them, 
and  I  worked  out  registration  and  things  like  that.   I 
worked  out  a  method  of  registry  where  the  artist  would  make 
a  line  drawing  which  served  as  the  color  registration 
guide.   Then  we  photographed  that  and  photographed  it  onto 
the  plate.   Then  the  artist  drew  the  plate  so  that  the 


colors  all  registered  exactly.   It  saved  us  quite  a  bit  of 
time  in  registry  work.   Then  this  color  guide  that  we  put 
on  the  plate  didn't  print.   We  worked  it  out  so  that  we 
could  get  rid  of  the  original  color  guide  on  the  plate  and 
we  had  just  the  drawing  left,  with  the  register  marks  to 
keep  the  design  in  register.   I  worked  with  Marcia  Maris 
making  one  color  lithograph  [The  Castle]  that  we  ran 
twenty-eight  colors  on. 

RATNER:   Right,  I  think  you  told  me  about  that  last  time. 
KISTLER:   Yes.   And  I  did  another  one  with  Stanton 
Macdonald-Wright,  and  there  were  eleven  colors  on  that. 
That's  that  one  we  have  on  the  wall  there. 
RATNER:   What's  the  title  of  that? 

KISTLER:   That's  Gershwin's  Music.   I  did  a  couple  of 
prints  with  Millard  Sheets  the  same  way.   But  I  commenced 
to  run  into  trouble,  because  my  pressman  [Ernest  Perry]  had 
developed  an  allergy  from  the  acids  and  things  that  we 
worked  with,  and  he  quit.   The  materials  that  were 
available  for  making  lithographs,  even  on  aluminum  plates, 
were  disappearing  from  the  market,  because  they  were  no 
longer  required  in  the  commercial  printing  business.   I  had 
to  depend  upon  that  source  for  the  materials  that  were 
available.   And  it  was  quite  evident  to  me  at  that  time 
that  to  continue  with  the  work  I  would  have  to  air- 
condition  my  plant,  which  would  cost  me  several  thousands 


of  dollars,  more  money  than  I  could  afford  to  spend  on 

it.   So  I  decided  at  that  time  not  to  go  ahead  with  the 

work  any  further  and  let  it  lie  where  it  was.   I  also  did-- 

Well,  I  told  you  about  the  thirty- two-page  design  book. 

Picture  Book  II.   That's  about  it. 

RATNER:   No,  you  skipped  a  lot.   You  don't  know  what  I  have 

in  store  for  you.   [laughter]   I  want  to  back  up  to  the 

forties  for  a  few  minutes  if  we  could.   I  just  want  to  ask 

you,  when  you  first  returned  to  Los  Angeles,  how  available 

were  materials,  given  the  war  situation? 

KISTLER:   Real  good  paper  had  disappeared,  but  the  industry 

was  converting  entirely  to  offset  lithography  rather  than 

stone  lithography,  and  there  is  a  complete  difference 

there.   The  presses  were  improved  and  materials  were 

changing  very  rapidly.   Let's  see,  where  were  we,  anyway? 

What  was  your  question? 

RATNER:   I  was  asking  how  available  the  materials  were 

right  after  the  war,  so  that's  right  on  line. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   Oh,  a  flood  of  new  materials  came  into 

being,  and  the  ink  situation  changed  from  earth  colors  and 

things  like  that  to  aniline  dyes  entirely. 

RATNER:   That  was  around  that  time. 

KISTLER:   That  made  some  of  the  colors  more  fugitive  and 

others  it  made  more  permanent.   New  mediums  for  mixing  the 

colors  were  developed,  and  the  Gans  Ink  Company,  who  I 


worked  with,  had  put  in  a  department  for  mixing  the  inks 
for  the  printers,  so  I  could  get  the  kind  of  ink  that  I 
wanted  and  get  the  colors  that  matched  very  accurately  by 
then.   It  saved  us  quite  a  bit  of  work  and  gave  us 
permanent  colors  in  the  things  that  I  have  printed,  which 
have  stood  up  over  the  years  and  have  not  faded.   Previous 
to  the  working  out  of  formulas  that  Bob  [Robert]  Cans 
worked  out  for  me--  My  colors  were  not  only  brilliant  and  I 
could  get  very  clear  and  very  precise  colors,  but  they  were 
permanent  too,  which  was  an  essential  thing  as  I  saw 

But  the  combination  of  my  pressman  quitting  and  the 
fact  that  I  would  have  to  spend  more  money  than  I  had  on 
the  plant--  There  didn't  seem  to  be  enough  available 
business  at  that  time  to  continue  with.   It  wasn't  possible 
for  me  to  spend  $100,000  in  air-conditioning  the  plant,  and 
that  would  have  been  on  an  experimental  basis,  too.   So 
that  about  covers  the  situation  as  it  was  in  the  time  that 
I  could. 

RATNER:   Well,  I  also  read  in  some  of  the  earlier 
correspondence  at  the  [William  Andrews]  Clark  [Memorial] 
Library  that  you  did  some  work  with  some  of  the  [Walt] 
Disney  [Studio]  artists  in  1947.   How  did  that  all  come 
KISTLER:   Let's  see.   That  came  about  through  a  combination 


of  my  work  with  some  of  the  artists  in  the  studios.   I  made 
an  acquaintance  with  quite  a  number  of  artists  in  the 
studios  and  had  done  work  for  them  on  stone.   Then  my 
aquaintance  with  Herbert  Ryman,  which  I  told  you  about. 
RATNER:   Right. 

KISTLER:   He  introduced  me  to  artists  at  Disney,  and  word 
got  around,  one  way  and  another,  to  the  studios  that  I  was 
doing  lithograph  both  in  offset  and  on  stone.   That  helped 
out  my  contacts.   I  worked  with  practically--  Many  of  the 
well-known  artists  at  the  studio.   Warren  Newcombe  was  one 
man  that  I  worked  with.   He  was  the  man  that  worked  out  the 
proposition  that  they  would  build  a  set  portraying  the 
capitol  steps  and  then  they  would  take  a  photograph  of  the 
capitol.   He  worked  it  out  so  that  they  would  photograph 
the  lower  part  first,  where  the  action  took  place,  and  the 
background  would  be  from  a  photograph  of  the  capitol 
itself.   It  was  all  fit  together,  but  it  was  photographed 
separately,  the  top  and  the  bottom.   It  was  a  very 
complicated  deal  that  I  can't  describe  because  he  wouldn't 
even  let  the  principals  at  Metro-Goldwyn[ -Mayer]  into  his 
studio  there.   He  was  a  man  that  worked  it  out,  and  I  guess 
it  is  still  used  today.   He  was  one  of  the  men  that  I  had 
worked  with. 

RATNER:   That's  right.   I  remember  we  talked  about  him  a 


KISTLER:   Herbert  Ryman  worked  at  the  studios.   And  he 
talked  about  my  work,  and  it  got  around  town  that  I  was  a 
competent  lithographer.   The  artists  came,  floods  of  them, 
on  Sundays.   Weekends  were  the  only  time  the  artists  had  to 
work  when  I  first  started  in  and  was  working  in  my  home  at 
Patricia  Avenue.   They'd  practically  fill  up  the  streets 
there  with  their  cars,  and  the  neighbors  got  upset  about 
it.   One  man  undertook  to  go  to  the  city,  and  I  had  quite  a 
stew  about  it,  because  they  wanted  to  stop  my  doing  work. 
But  I  carried  it  on  as  a  hobby.   I  wasn't  charging  them  any 
money  for  it,  and  it  wasn't  a  commercial  business  at  that 
time,  so  they  didn't  do  anything  about  it.   They  just  said, 
well,  I  had  a  right  to  such  parking  as  was  available,  and  I 
wasn't  doing  anything  that  was  against  the  law. 
RATNER:   How  much  competition  was  there  in  Los  Angeles, 
during  the  late  forties,  amongst  fine  art  lithographers? 
KISTLER:   The  only  competition  that  I  had  was  workmen  who 
in  their  spare  time  would  work  with  the  artists  on  it. 
RATNER:   So  you  were  really  it  in  terms  of  a  full-time  fine 
art  lithographer. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  was  the  only  one  that  made  my  time 
available  on  any  reasonable  basis.   Most  of  the 
lithographers,  by  the  time  that  they  put  in  a  full  week's 
work,  which  at  the  start  was  six  days  a  week,  why,  they 
didn't  want  to  do  any  more  of  it.   They  didn't  want  to  work 


on  it  any  further  with  the  stone.   But  there  was  one  man  by 

the  name  of  Graff  who  worked  for  me  in  the  Kistler  plant, 

my  father's  plant.   He  used  to  pull  prints.   Another  man, 

Paul  Rohrer,  he  was  a  very  fine  printer  and  a  very  fine 

lithographer.   But  they  weren't  very  anxious  to  give  me  any 

information  on  the  printing  of  stone.   They  wanted  to  keep 

it  as  their  own  prerogative. 

RATNER:   Right.   But  you  fooled  them. 

KISTLER:   So  I  wasn't  able  to  get  much  information  from  them. 

RATNER:   But  that  was  early  on,  right,  that  you're  talking 

about,  when  you  proceeded  to  learn  yourself. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   When  you  were  mentioning  earlier  about  the-- 

KISTLER:   This  is  as  rambling  as  my  life  has  been.   We've 

been  going  back  and  forth  here.   I  really  had  no 

organization,  I  think.   I  didn't  keep  any  real  records.   I 

never  have,  so  it's-- 

RATNER:   Well,  in  all  the  correspondence  that  you  have,  I 

was  able  to,  you  know,  come  up  with  an  outline  that  told  me 

what  you  were  doing  and  when.   So  that's  what  I'm  trying  to 

worm  out  of  you.   [laughter] 

KISTLER:   Trying  to  pry  out  of  me.   [laughter] 

RATNER:   When  you  were  mentioning  earlier  about  your 

contact  with  the  people  at  UCLA  through  Stanton  Macdonald- 

Wright--  That's  how  you  met  Clinton  Adams  and  other  people 


as  well.   How  much  did  that  contact  with  UCLA  increase  your 
work  load? 

KISTLER:   Well,  it  was  a  substantial  part  of  it. 
RATNER:   It  wasn't  like  a  onetime  thing  with  those  artists? 
They  became  genuinely  interested  in  lithography?   I  guess 
that's  what  I'm  trying  to  find  out. 

KISTLER:   Artists  draw  pictures  when  they  feel  like  it, 
when  they  feel  a  picture  coming  on.   That  is,  unless  they 
have  an  assignment.   I  didn't  have  any  assignments  and  they 
didn't  have  any  assignments,  so  it  was  just  whenever  they 
got  a  feeling  that  they  wanted  to  make  a  lithograph  or  that 
they  wanted  to  make  a  drawing  that  they  came  to  me. 
Sometimes  it  would  be  a  year  or  more.   There  were--  When  I 
was  working  with  June  Wayne,  I  printed  an  awful  lot  of  work 
for  her.   I  did  work  on  both  stone  and  offset  work  with 
her.   There  were  lapses  the  whole  year  when  I  wouldn't  see 
her.   She  was  just  doing  something  else.   The  same  way  with 
the  other  artists.   I  had  no  permanent  customers.   I  had 
nobody  that  I  could  get  interested  in  or  would  work  on 
lithography  and  make  it  a  medium.   If  I  had  had  more  time 
and  more  money,  I  could  have  gone  ahead  with  it  and  done 
more  promotional  work.   But  I  did  lay  the  groundwork  for 
its  acceptance  amongst  the  artists,  and  there  were  two  or 
three  other  people  who  went  into  business  after  I  started 
the  work  in  Los  Angeles. 


FEBRUARY  21,  1989 

RATNER:   Okay,  before  we  flipped  the  tape  we  were  talking 
about  your  relationship  with  various  artists  and  the  fact 
that  you  had  laid  the  groundwork  for  an  interest  in 
lithography  in  Los  Angeles.   I  wanted  to  ask  you,  I  know 
that  you  had  your  own  gallery  in  your  plant  because  you 
felt  you  needed  a  place  to  show  the  work,  because  there, 
for  a  time,  wasn't  a  lot  of  interest  in  prints.   But  I  know 
by  the  late  forties  that  there  were  more  fine  art  galleries 
in  the  Los  Angeles  area.   I  believe  that  Vincent  Price  had 
opened  his  Little  Gallery  in  Beverly  Hills,  as  well  as 
helping  to  found  the  Modern  Institute  of  Art,  which  was  in 
Beverly  Hills.   Also  by  this  time,  Frank  Perls,  Felix 
Landau,  William  Copley,  and  Paul  Kantor  had  also  opened 
their  own  galleries.   Also  Associated  American  Artists 
opened  up  a  short-lived,  but  apparently  very  lavish, 
Beverly  Hills  branch  in  '47.   There  was  also  something 
called  the  American  Contemporary  Gallery  run  by  Barbara 
Byrnes.   With  all  this  new  activity,  I  wondered  how  much 
interest  there  was  in  prints. 

KISTLER:   Well,  there  wasn't  enough  to  keep  a  printer 
going.   None  of  those  people  have  cooperated  with  me  in 
developing  prints.   You  mean  that  those  people  were  active 
in  the  sale  of  prints  at  that  time? 


RATNER:   No,  no,  no.   I  don't  know.   I  know  that  they  had 
opened  up  galleries.   What  I  didn't  know  was  whether  they 
were  showing  paintings  exclusively  or  whether  there  was 
some  interest  in  prints  by  this  point.   I  didn't  know.   I 
just  knew  that  the  galleries  had  opened  by  then. 
KISTLER:   Yes.   Well,  none  of  them  took  up  the  cudgel  and 
went  after  print  sales  and  specialized  in  prints.   It  was  a 
sideline,  entirely,  with  them.   I  don't  know.   I  didn't  get 
any  real  help  from  any  of  the  galleries.   There  weren't  any 
of  them  that  made  prints  a  specialty,  you  know.   None  of 
them  that  had  galleries  that  specialized  in  prints  and  saw 
the  value  of  marketing  them. 

RATNER:   Why  do  you  feel  the  Associated  American  Artists 
decided  to  open  up  a  place  out  here  for  a  little  while? 
KISTLER:   I  don't  know,  because  they  didn't  make  much  of  a 
splash.   I  didn't  know  that  they  had  opened  up  a  gallery 
here.   That's  how  much  it  amounted  to.   I  think  I  was 
pretty  alert  for  anyone  who  could  have  helped  with  the 
promotion  of  prints.   But  there  wasn't  a  one  of  them  that  I 
knew  of  that--  They  didn't  use  my  facilities,  they  didn't 
bring  any  customers  to  me,  and,  frankly,  I  wasn't  even 
conscious  and  am  not  at  the  present  time  that  Associated 
American  Artists  opened.   I  don't  remember  their  having 
opened  a  gallery  here,  so  they  certainly  didn't  contribute 
much  to  this  area  of  prints.   There  were  some  of  them  that 


were  very  enthusiastic  about  my  work,  and  if  I  had  had  the 
work  of  major  artists  to  offer  them,  it  would  have  made  it 
possible  to  work  out  the  work  more.  There  was  one  gallery 
that  was  owned--  I  don't--  Name  over  those  galleries  again, 
RATNER:  Was  it  the  Copley  Gallery  that  you're  thinking  of 
that  you  worked  with? 
KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   That  was  considered  by  many  to  be  the  most  avant- 
garde  of  the  galleries  at  the  time. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  did  work  with  Copley.   That  was  one 
gallery  that  did  work  with  me  quite  a  bit.   I  printed  a 
couple  of  books  for  them  and  also  did  an  etching  for  the 
man  who  was  the  outstanding--  Oh,  what  do  you  call  it? 

RATNER:   Well,  you  did  two  projects  with  the  Copley 
Gallery:   one  in  '48  with  Man  Ray  and  a  second  one  in  '49 
with  Max  Ernst. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  and  Max  Ernst  is  the  one  I  was  trying  to 
think  of. 

RATNER:   Let  me  ask  you  about  the  one  with  Man  Ray,  since 
that  occurred  first,  in  '48.   In  1948  the  Copley  Gallery 
published  the  first  edition  of  Man  Ray's  Alphabet  For 
Adults,  and  that  was  designed  by  the  artist  and  printed  by 
you.   How  did  you  become  involved  with  that  project? 
KISTLER:   Well,  he  came  to  me  and  worked  with  me,  and  I 


printed  a  book  for  them  that  was  done  on  an  offset  press. 

And  that's  about  it.   Then  I  handled  their  commercial 

printing,  too.   If  I  had  had  two  or  three  more  people  of 

that  caliber  that  had  money  to  spend  or  were  willing  to 

work  with  me,  it  would  have  gotten  me  a  good  deal  further 

with  it. 

RATNER:   Then  you  also  collaborated  on  one  lithograph  with 

Man  Ray  called  Le  Roman  Noir.   How  did  that  develop? 

KISTLER:   Well,  he  just  wanted  to  make  a  lithograph.   He 

came  in,  and  I  gave  him  a  stone,  and  he-- 

RATNER:   Went  to  work. 

KISTLER:   He  went  to  work  on  it.   I  handled  it  like  I  did 

the  others.   He  had  some  innovations  in  that  printing. 

I've  forgotten  just  what  they  were  now,  but-- 

RATNER:   Well,  I  read  something  about  the  fact  that  he- -Man 

Ray--suggested  using  four  colors,  blue,  red,  black  and 

brown.   And  then  they  were  blended  together,  which  was 

something  that  neither  of  you  had  done  before. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  knew  how  to  do  it.   I  knew  what  he  wanted 


RATNER:   Apparently,  that  was  some  kind  of  innovation,  I 


KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   So  how  would  you  describe  him,  Man  Ray?   How  was 

he  to  work  with? 


KISTLER:   Well,  he  was  very  imaginative  and  placed  quite  a 
bit  of  requirements  on  my  imagination  and  everything.   He 
was  stimulating  to  work  with  because  he  did  have  ideas 
about  lithography  that  we  could  have  carried  out.   I  would 
like  to  have  done  more  work  with  him. 

RATNER:   But  he  wasn't  interested  in  doing  more  litho- 
graphs?  Is  that  what  happened? 

KISTLER:   Well,  he  was  interested  in  painting  and  things  of 
that  sort  that  were  paying  more  money.   That  was  the  breach 
that  we  had  was  the  difference  in  price  between  a  painting 
and  a  lithograph.   Lithographs  were  selling--  For  even  fine 
artists,  they  were  seldom  priced  at  more  than  a  few 
dollars;  and  paintings,  they  were  really  getting  high 
prices  for  them. 

RATNER:   Then,  as  we  mentioned,  another  artist  you  worked 
with  that  was  connected  with  the  Copley  Gallery  was  Max 
Ernst.   In  1949,  I  guess  carrying  over  to  '50,  the  Copley 
Gallery  held  a  Max  Ernst  retrospective.   The  artist 
designed  the  catalog  and  you  printed  it  [Max  Ernst:  Thirty 
Years  of  His  Work] ,  apparently,  in  an  edition  of  513 
numbered  copies,  of  which  the  first  22  contained  an 
original  etching  printed  by  Joe  [Joseph]  Funk  at  Jules 
Heller's  USC  [University  of  Southern  California]  workshop. 
KISTLER:   Yes. 
RATNER:   How  did  you  become  involved  with  that  project? 


KISTLER:   Well,  Copley  was  working  with  me  at  that  time, 
and  I  handled  some  commercial  printing  for  them.   I  worked 
with  whoever  was  available  to  pull  the  prints.   That  was 
just  collaboration  that  I  had.   When  something  was  outside 
of  the  scope  of  my  facilities,  why,  I  went  someplace  else 
to  get  them.   I  did  occasionally  use  a  letterpress  printer 
and  another  lithographer  and  a  compositor  in  that  case. 
RATNER:   How  would  you  describe  Max  Ernst? 
KISTLER:   I  didn't  know  him  very  well.   I  just  got  his" 
plates.   I'm  not  sure  that  I  ever  met  him. 
RATNER:   Well,  in  an  interview  I  read  that  you  later  did 
with  Clinton  Adams,  you  recount  a  story  to  Clinton  Adams 
about  Ernst  and  his  desire  to  print  with  you  if  you  would 
take  part  of  the  edition  as  payment.   You  said  that  you 
refused  because  you  had  a  policy  to  take  only  cash  for  your 
work.   But  then  you  later  said  you  regretted  it  as  a  major 
error  in  judgment  on  your  part. 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  found  out  later  the  importance  of  the 
artists.   It  was  one  mistake  that  I  made.   If  I  had  been 
alert  to  the  value  of  Ernst's  work,  as  it  finally  worked 
out,  why,  I  wouldn't  have  had  to  have  worried  the  rest  of 
my  life.   [laughter]   I'm  sorry  now  that  I  didn't  go  ahead 
with  it  on  that  basis.   But  I  did  have  to  eat,  too.   That's 
another  thing. 
RATNER:   That's  right.   You  couldn't  eat  prints.   So  up 


until  that  time,  you  weren't  real  familiar  with  his  work? 

He  was  just  somebody  that  the  artist  was  bringing  you  to 

work  with. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  yes,  he  was  just  another  artist  that  was 


RATNER:   What  sort  of  a  working  relationship  did  you  have, 

if  any,  with  any  of  the  other  Copley  Gallery  artists?   I 

know  that  they  showed  the  other  surrealists:  [Roberto] 

Matta,  [Rene]  Magritte,  [Joseph]  Cornell,  and  [Yves] 


KISTLER:   Well,  most  of  those  artists  were  out  of  the 

country  even.   They  specialized  in--  Oh,  a  man  from  Chile 

and  another  one  from  Peru  and  French  artists  that  weren't 

even  in  this  country,   Man  Ray  and  Max  Ernst  were  two  of 

the  artists  that  they  brought  to  this  country  in  person. 

The  rest  of  them  weren't  able  to  come  here.   They  didn't 

have  the  finances  and  they  didn't  have  the  standing. 

Copley  was  specializing  in  abstract  art,  and  it  was  having 

quite  a  time  getting  by  at  that  time.   It  wasn't  generally 

accepted.   It  wasn't  even  as  accepted  as  it  is  today,  and 

so  not  so  many  of  them  got  to  this  country. 

RATNER:   So  those  were  the  two  main  artists  that  you  worked 

with  from  that  gallery,  other  than  commercial  work  that  you 

just  did  for  the  gallery. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  that's  right. 


RATNER:   I  mentioned  a  minute  ago  that  Joe  Funk  had  printed 

that  etching  at  USC  for  the  Ernst  project.   What  was  your 

opinion  of  that  lithography  workshop  at  USC?   It  was  begun 

in  the  late  forties. 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  think  that  it  was  valuable,  but  I  wasn't 

very  well  acquainted  with  what  they  were  doing.   They 

weren't  poking  around  my  shop,  and  I  didn't  poke  around 

theirs.   But  I  suppose  that  I  could  have.   If  there  had 

been  more  cooperation,  lithography  would  have  taken  hold  a 

good  deal  better  than  it  did. 

RATNER:   But  you  just  both  kept  to  yourselves. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  we  worked  independently,  and  they  didn't 

seem  to  be  interested  in  what  I  was  doing. 

RATNER:   So  even  though  you  had  been  in  town  for  quite  a 

while  and  had  been  operating  even  before  they  opened  up, 

they  didn't  come  to  you  ahead  of  time  seeking  any  advice  or 

anything  like  that. 

KISTLER:   No,  no. 

RATNER:   Okay,  also  in  '48,  as  you  mentioned  earlier,  that 

was  when  June  Wayne  first  came  to  your  plant,  and  you 

worked  with  her  over  the  next  nine  or  ten  years.   Because 

you  worked  with  her  for  such  a  long  time--  I  know  you've 

worked  with  other  artists  for  a  long  time  as  well.   But 

what  would  you  say  makes  a  good  collaboration  between  an 

artist  and  a  printer? 


KISTLER:   Well,  it's  a  mutual  viewpoint.   It  is  an 
appreciation  of  the  work,  the  skill  of  each  of  them,  and 
the  concept  that  they  have.   Their  respect  for  each  other's 
viewpoints.   It's  kind  of  like  a  marriage,  you  know.   You 
get  along  because  you  get  along,  or  you  just  don't  get 
along  at  all.   Very  often  there  is  an  awful  lot  of  patience 
on  the  part  of  one  side  or  the  other.   Eugene  Herman  was  an 
awfully  impatient  man  to  work  with,  very  critical  of 
everything  that  was  done.   He  criticized  the  things  that  I 
did  and  the  way  that  they  were  printed,  and  I  was  just 
patient  with  him  to  get  what  he  wanted.   On  the  part  of  the 
printer,  it's  a  matter  of  being  able  to  project  the 
concepts  of  the  artist  by  cooperation  and  patience  with 
sometimes  rather  pointed  criticism.   Other  times,  you  find 
artists  that  are  very  easy  to  work  with,  that  they  are  not 
critical  and  that  they  are  cooperative.   It's  a  question  of 
the  temperaments  of  the  people  that  are  working  together. 
There  are  all  kinds  of  combinations  between  patience  and 
impatience  and  charitableness  towards  each  other's  work  and 
their--  Well,  it's  just  living  together,  really.   You've 
got  to  forgive  a  lot  of  things  that  occur,  a  lot  of  things 
that  are  said.   The  printers  make  mistakes,  and  the  artist 
has  to  be  patient  with  it.   And  the  artist  sometimes  puts 
demands  upon  the  printer  that  are  almost  impossible. 
For  instance,  in  working  with  Stanton  Macdonald- 


Wright--  He  was  a  very  fine  artist,  very  competent  and  very 
capable.   He  didn't  know  exactly  how  colors  would  work  out, 
having  drawn  them  on  a  plate,  how  they  would  print.   With 
my  experience,  I  could  tell  him,  "Stanton,  this  thing  here, 
you've  got  to  put  more  crayon  on  that  if  you  want  that  to 
come  out  the  way  that  you  want  it  to."   And  he'd  say,  "I 
want  to  see  how  it  looks  from  here  just  the  way  I've  drawn 
it  there."   I  would  have  to  be  patient  enough  to  go  ahead 
and  print  it,  put  it  on  the  press  and  print  it  and  go 
through  all  the  motions  of  making  a  trial  print.   And  he'd 
say,  "Well,  gee,  that  isn't  what  I  wanted  at  all."   He'd 
come  back  to  the  original  concept  that  I  had.   Sometimes 
that  went  on  two  or  three  times  on  a  color.   Or  if  I  was 
doing  a  color,  I'd  tell  him  that  there  had  to  be  more 
drawing  on  the  plate  or  something  was  going  to  come  out  too 
dark,  or  something  of  that  kind,  and  he  would  demand  to  see 
it.   He  lived  way  up  on  the  beach,  up  north  of  Santa  Monica 
there,  and  I  would  have  to  take  proofs  to  him,  clear  down 
to  his  place,  which  was  a  matter  of  twenty  or  thirty  miles. 
I'd  have  to  take  them  down  to  him  for  his  approval.   He  had  a 
funny  thing  about  being  afraid  of  traffic  and  everything,  so 
I  had  to  do  all  the  legwork  on  that.   I  couldn't  be  in  my 
plant  when  I  was  in  my  car  and  going  to  consult  with  him.   It 
made  it  an  expensive  thing  to  work  out.   But  he  helped  me  out 
so  much  in  bringing  artists  to  me  and  things  like  that  that  I 


felt  that  it  was  worthwhile  to  work  with  him.   On  this 
expense,  my  time  ran  considerably  more  than  he'd  pay  for, 
than  he  was  willing  to  pay  for,  and  I  had  to  reduce  the  bill 
considerably  from  what  I  thought  was  a  fair  and  reasonable 
charge.   It  was  indicative  of  what  I  was  willing  to  do  to 
please  the  artist.   I  think  that  a  printer  has  to  be  that  way 
if  he  is  going  to  work  with  an  artist.   Either  that  or  you 
won't  get  anyplace  at  all. 

RATNER:   I  wondered  how  you  felt  about  that  in  terms  of 
subject  matter,  because,  speaking  of  June  Wayne  again,  to 
prepare  for  this  interview,  I  was  reading  an  interview  done 
with  her.   In  it  she  mentions  a  print  that  she  was  working 
on  with  you,  the  subject  matter  of  which  you  apparently 
didn't  approve  of.   Initially  you  refused  to  print  it. 
KISTLER:   Yeah. 

RATNER:   But  you  ultimately  did  agree  to  print  it,  and  I 
wondered  what  you  remembered  about  that  particular  situation. 
KISTLER:   Well,  I  just  didn't  think  it  was  worth  printing. 
That's  it. 

RATNER:   Aesthetically  or  because  of  the  subject  matter? 
KISTLER:   Oh,  the  subject  matter  and  aesthetically.   It 
didn't  seem  to  come  up  to  her  standard  or  mine  either. 
RATNER:   What  was  your  feeling  regarding  the  artist's 
choice  of  subject?   Was  that  the  artist's  decision,  or  was 
there  a  point  at  which  you  felt--? 


KISTLER:   Well,  there's  a  fine  line  between  promiscuity  and 

art,  and  sometimes  that  was  the  basis  at  which  I  didn't 

want  to  print  anything  that  was  pornographic.   I  wouldn't 

print  it,  as  a  matter  of  fact. 

RATNER:   So  what--?  It  had  more  to  do  with  that  than,  say, 

for  instance,  a  political  subject  or  something  like  that? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   That  was  the  only  thing  that  I  drew  the 

line  on.   I  wouldn't  handle  pornography  of  any  kind  or  a 

print  that  I  felt  bordered  on  pornography.   There's  an 

awful  lot  of  things  that  I  wouldn't  print  today. 

RATNER:   But  how  often  did  that  come  up  when  you  were 


KISTLER:   Not  very  often. 

RATNER:   Not  very  often. 


RATNER:   Okay,  I  discovered  that  during  the  late  forties 

and  early  fifties,  most  of  Southern  California's  prominent 

artists  came  to  work  with  you,  including  William  Brice, 

Hans  Burkhardt,  Phil  Dike,  Lorser  Feitelson,  Rico  Lebrun, 

Helen  Lundeberg,  Dan  Lutz,  Phil  Paradise,  Millard  Sheets, 

Wayne  Thiebaud,  and  June  Wayne,  some  of  whom,  of  course, 

we've  already  mentioned.   With  whom  did  you  particularly 

enjoy  working? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  I  enjoyed  working  with  all  of  them.   I 

enjoyed  the  work  all  the  time.   There  isn't  an  artist  that 


I  worked  with  that  I  would  say  that  I  didn't  enjoy  working 

with  them.   I  enjoyed  my  work. 

RATNER:   You  just  loved  printing  so  much. 

KISTLER:   Yeah.   There  isn't  an  artist  that  I  ever  worked 

with  that  I  didn't  enjoy  my  experience  with  them. 

RATNER:   Well,  that's  a  pretty  impressive  list  I  just  read, 

and  I  know  that  it's  much  longer  than  that.   Those  were 

just  a  few  names  that  I  pulled  out.   Are  there  any 

memorable  experiences  with  those  people?   Any  of  those 

people  that  stand  out  in  your  mind? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  I  probably  could  dredge  some  up,  but  I  can't 

think  of  any  right  off. 

RATNER:   Well,  maybe  you'll  think  of  it  over  the  next  week 

or  so,  and  you  can  tell  me  next  time  if  you  think  of 

anything  that  was-- 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  had  the  closest  association  with  Jean 

Chariot  of  any  of  them. 

RATNER:   Right,  which  we  covered  last  time. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  and  I  did--  I  think  that  I  have  told  you 

some  of  the-- 

RATNER:   Right,  of  those  stories. 

KISTLER:   --experiences  that  I  had  with  him. 

RATNER:   Right.   I  just  wondered  if  anything  stood  out  in 

your  mind  with  any  of  these  other  artists,  but  maybe  it 

will  just  come  to  you  while  you're  thinking  about  another 



KISTLER:   I  don't  know.   It's  hard  for  me  to  recall — 

RATNER:   I  know  I'm  putting  you  on  the  spot  here. 

KISTLER:   Yeah,  I'm  just  trying  to-- 

LELAH  KISTLER:   He  worked  with  over  seven  hundred  artists. 

RATNER:   I  know.   Well,  maybe  we'll  wrap  it  up  here  for 

today.   Then  if  some  funny  story  or  interesting  situation 

comes  to  you  over  the  next  week  or  so,  maybe  you'll 

remember  it  or  jot  it  down  or  something,  and  you  can  tell 

me  about  it  next  time  we  meet. 

KISTLER:   Well,  some  of  the  experiences  I  had  were  outside 

of  the  printing  experience:   personal  experiences  and 

things  like  that.   And  I've  told  you  about  the  association 

that  Jean  Chariot  had  with  one  collector  here-- 

RATNER:   Right.   Yes,  you  told  me  about  that. 

KISTLER:   Which  I  thought —  I  don't  like  to  place  the  man 

in  any  bad  judgment  at  all,  because  we  all  have  our 

peculiarities,  and  to  me  they  were  just  little  strange 

quirks  that  they  had.   The  same  way  as  I  have  some  strange 

quirks.   I  find  there  are  people  who  feel  that  I  am  strange 

in  a  lot  of  ways. 

RATNER:   Okay,  well,  maybe  we'll  wrap  it  up  here,  and  then 

we  can  pick  up  with  some  other  subjects  next  time  we  meet. 

KISTLER:   Okay. 


MARCH  7,  1989 

RATNER:   I'd  like  to  begin  today  by  talking  about  some  of 
your  publishing  and  publicity  efforts.   The  first  thing  I 
wanted  to  talk  about  was  in  regard  to  your  publication 
entitled  Bulletin.   I  first  came  across  a  mention  of  this 
in  some  correspondence  dated  from  February  1948. 
Unfortunately,  it  was  only  mentioned--I  wasn't  able  to  see 
a  copy.   But  in  a  letter  to  Jean  Chariot  of  that  date,  you 
say  that  the  publication  is  doing  quite  well,  that  the 
artists  like  it  very  much,  and  it's  bringing  in  both  new 
artists  and  buyers.   What  can  you  tell  me  about  that? 
KISTLER:   Oh,  gee,  that's  so  long  ago  I  can  hardly  tell  you 
very  much.   It  was  a  publicity  effort  on  my  part,  and  I 
carried  on  for  a  short  length  of  time,  maybe  a  year  or  two, 
and  sent  out  little  bulletins  about  the  artists'  work  and 
about  the  work  that  I  was  doing  there.   It  was  promotional 
entirely,  and  that's  about  all  it  amounted  to.   It  did 
attract  some  attention  and  it  got  me  some  business,  and 
that's  what  it  was,  a  business-building  effort.   It  was 
slanted  towards  the  interests  of  the  artists.   I  didn't 
take  any  editorial  positions.   I  didn't  try  to  change  any 
of  the  marketing  or  anything  like  that,  or  the  movement, 
but  it  was  just  to  tell  them  about  what  we  were  doing  in 
the  business.   And  getting  artists  to  come  into  the  print 


room  and  get  them  working  on  stone- -that  was  my  principal 
object.   It  was  an  effort,  too,  as  far  as  possible,  to 
reach  the  public  in  the  distribution  of  prints  and  get  them 
to  come  in,  and  it  did  have  some  effect.   One  thing  about 
it  that  would  bring  them  in--  They'd  come  in  and  they'd  go 
through  my  entire  file  of  prints,  and  they'd  have  one  or 
two  that  they  thought  that  they  might  like  and  that  they'd 
be  back  in  a  day  or  two  and  tell  me  whether  they  wanted 
them.   And  after  having  put  in  two  or  three  hours  with  them 
and  going  through  my  files  and  everything,  why,  they 
decided  that  that  wasn't  exactly  what  they  wanted,  but  they 
wanted  something  else.   [laughter]   So  it  was  one  of  those 
things  that  made  an  awful  lot  of  work  and  didn't  pay  off  as 
far  as  the  sale  of  prints  was  concerned,  although  I 
remember  it  did  bring  in  one  print  collector  that  bought, 
oh,  $1,000  or  $1,500  worth  of  prints  at  one  time.   Of 
course,  that  hooped  things  up  greatly. 
RATNER:   I  bet. 

KISTLER:   That  helped  a  lot,  [laughter]  and  kept  it  going 
for  a  while  longer.   But  it  was  my  means  of  keeping  in 
touch  with  the  artists  and  letting  them  know  that  I  was 
still  active  and  everything. 
RATNER:   What  was  the  format  like? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  it  was  just  a  little  4"  X  9"  folder  that  I 
think  was  either  six  or  eight  pages. 


RATNER:   And  where  did  the  mailing  list  come  from? 
KISTLER:   Well,  it  came  from  a  good  many  sources.   It  was 
sent  out  to  the  art  schools  and  all  of  the  artists  that  I 
had  on  my  list.   And  I  did  have  a  pretty  good  list  of 
artists.   I  had  400  or  500  that  I  was  working  with  at  one 
time,  and  during  the  time  that  I  was  active  in  printing 
from  stone,  why,  I  printed  with  over  700  different 
artists.   I  had  a  list  of  most  of  them.   I  had  a  list  of 
450  names  when  I  finally  compiled  it,  but  I  know  that  there 
were  more  than  that  during  the  time  that  I  was  in  the 
business  that  I  worked  with. 

I  wasn't  in  the  business  of  collecting  as  much  as  I 
was  trying  to  get  distribution,  and  I  should  have  kept  a 
file  of  everything  that  I  printed.   It  would  have  been  a 
nice  thing  to  have,  and  it  would  have  been  very  valuable 
today.   But  I  was  so  anxious  to  get  people  to  buy  just  that 
one  copy  of  the  thing  that  they  wanted,  why,  I  sold  it  to 
them,  and  in  some  cases  gave  it  away  if  people  were 
interested  in  my  work  and  I  felt  they  could  be  of  help  to 
promote  lithography.   If  they  liked  something,  why,  if  I 
thought  that  it  was  important  enough,  I  would  give  it  to 
them  to  get  them  started,  so  that  my  files  were  depleted. 
Sometimes  I  had  two  or  three  copies  and  I  could  dispose  of 
them.   I'd  give  away  the  third  copy,  in  lots  of  cases,  if 
it  was  something  that  seemed  to  have  a  possibility  of 


furthering  my  work. 

RATNER:   How  about  the  list  of  potential  collectors?   How 
did  you  come  up  with  that  list? 

KISTLER:   Well,  people  were  interested  in  what  I  was 
doing.   They  came  to  my  place,  and  I  kept  their  names.   I'd 
see  their  name  in  the  paper  and  look  up  their  address,  and 
I'd  put  them  on  my  list.   I'd  accumulate  my  list  of 
collectors  in  various  ways.   The  dealers,  of  course,  would 
not  cooperate  with  me  to  the  point  of  where  they  would  put 
their  customers'  names  in  my  hands,  and  so  I  had  to  compile 
my  own  list.   It  was  the  kind  of  a  job  that  I  had  to  do  on 
my  own.   I  couldn't  depend  upon  anyone  turning  a  list  over 
to  me. 

RATNER:   Do  you  have  any  copies  of  it  left  anywhere,  do  you 

KISTLER:   No,  I  don't.   Oh,  I  may  in  some  of  my  papers. 
RATNER:   You  could  try  and  track  one  down.   In  that  letter 
to  Jean  Chariot  that  I  just  mentioned  a  few  minutes  ago, 
you  ask  him  to  write  a  short  signed  article  for  the 
Bulletin  of  two  hundred  to  three  hundred  words  on  the 
importance  of  a  competent  printer.   Then  in  a  later 
correspondence.  Chariot  mentions  to  you  that  Lawrence 
Barrett,  I  guess,  was  hoping  that  you  would  publish  a 
Barrett-submitted  article  in  your  Bulletin,  so  I  guess  you 
were  asking  a  variety  of  people  to  write  articles  as  well. 


KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   Who  else  did  you  ask  to  contribute? 

KISTLER:   I  can't  remember.   I  just — 

RATNER:   So  you  think  you  published  that  for  about  a  year 

or  so? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  a  year  or  two.   It  didn't  have  a  regular 

publication  date.   It  just  came  out  such  times  as  there  was 

something  to  publish. 

RATNER:   Well,  then  in  1950,  shortly  thereafter,  you 

published  your  own  lithography  manual  [How  To  Make  a 

Lithograph] .   I  want  to  read  a  few  of  the  remarks  on  the 

book  jacket,  which  are  really  eloquent  testimony  to  your 

skill.   [Kistler  laughs.]   They  are! 

So  I'm  going  to  start  with  Jean  Chariot.   Of  course, 
he  was  the  artist  that  you  printed  with  for  a  long  time. 
It  says,  "Lynton  Kistler  and  I  started  printing  colored 
lithographs  together  close  to  twenty  years  ago.   He  is  one 
of  the  master  printers  today  and  has  done  more  to  raise  the 
quality  of  original  art  on  the  West  Coast  than  most 
artists. " 

Then  Carl  Zigrosser,  who  was  curator  of  prints  at  that 
time  at  the  Philadelphia  Museum  of  Art--of  course,  went  on 
to  do  other  things--says,  "Mr.  Lynton  Kistler--"  So  here's 
somebody  all  the  way  on  the  other  side  of  the  country  who 
is  writing  about  you.   "Mr.  Lynton  Kistler  is  one  of  the 


most  distinguished  lithographic  printers  of  our  time,  and 
it  is  indeed  good  news  that  he  is  preparing  a  handbook  on 
the  craft.   Technical  manipulation  in  the  graphic  arts, 
particularly  in  lithography,  too  often  has  been  treated  as 
a  jealously  guarded  trade  secret.   It  is,  therefore, 
gratifying  that  one  more  master  is  willing  to  share  his 
know-how  with  the  world.   As  to  Mr.  Kistler's  competence  in 
the  field,  I  need  but  say  his  work  speaks  for  itself." 

Then--I'm  not  f inished--Lorser  Feitelson,  of  course  a 
Los  Angeles  artist,  says,  "I  consider  Lynton  Kistler's  book 
on  lithography  an  important  contribution  to  the  technical 
literature  of  the  graphic  arts.   Kistler's  long  experience 
in  fine  art  lithographic  printing  has  established  him  as 
one  of  the  leading  authorities  in  this  specialized  craft." 

Then  Stanton  Macdonald-Wright,  of  course  an  important 
modernist  and  a  professor  of  art  at  UCLA,  says,  "Lynton 
Kistler  is,  in  my  opinion,  one  of  the  most  craftsman-like 
lithograph  printers  living  today.   His  sensibility  to  fine 
art  goes  far  beyond  that  of  all  save  the  most  savant 
artists.   His  book  should  be  welcomed  by  every  department 
of  art  of  our  educational  system  that  cherishes  excellent 
workmanship. " 

So  with  that  said,  how  did  that  whole  project  come 
KISTLER:   [laughter]   I  don't  know.   Well,  I  just  wanted  to 


publish  a  manual  on  printing  lithographs.   You've  seen  it, 

I  guess. 

RATNER:   Yes,  I  did. 

KISTLER:   It  isn't  an  outstanding  printing  job,  but  I  still 

think  that  it  is  one  of  the  most  concise  books  of 

directions  that  anyone  could  have.   It  covered  the  whole 

field,  and  if  you  followed  the  instructions  in  the  book, 

why,  you'd  get  a  good  lithograph.   That's  my  feeling  about 


RATNER:   So  what  made  you  decide  to  do  that  at  that 

particular  time? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  well,  I  can't  remember.   I  can't  tell  you 

what  the  motive  was.   I  was  active  in  everything  that  had 

to  do  with  lithography  at  that  time,  and  I  felt  as  though 

if  there  were  more  printers  and  more  people  interested  in 

the  art,  it  would  be  beneficial.   If  there  were  more  people 

that  were  bringing  promotional  efforts  to  lithography,  that 

it  would  be  beneficial  to  me  and  to  the  whole  movement  in 

the  long  run. 

RATNER:   To  whom  did  you  distribute  the  book? 

KISTLER:   Well,  everybody  that  would  buy  it.   I  sold  it 

through  the  bookstores.   Dawson's  Book  Shop  handled  quite  a 

few  of  them.   People  bought  them  by  mail--I  sold  some  by 

mail.   Libraries  bought  it.   It  received  general 

distribution.   I  was  cramped  for  funds  and  I  had  to  resort 


to  reproduction  for  the  text.   I  printed  it  on  8  l/^"  X  11" 
sheets,  the  text.   Then  it  was  published  with  a  series  of 
illustrations,  and  those  were  printed  in  regular  offset 
printing.   The  size  of  the  book,  I  believe,  is  9"  X  12". 
It  was  a  fairly  good  size.   You've  seen  it. 
RATNER:   Yes,  with  really  nice  photographs  in  it. 
KISTLER:   Yes,  the  series  of  photographs  I  felt  were 
exceedingly  good.   There  was  a  young  chap  [Fred  Swartz] 
that  was  taking  a  course  in  photography  at  one  of  the  art 
schools  here--I  can't  remember  which  one  it  was--but  each 
one  of  them  had  to  have  a  project,  and  he  came  to  me  and 
asked  me  if  I  would  allow  him  to  photograph  my  process.   I 
told  him  that  I  would  be  glad  to,  and  he  made  a  project  of 
photographing  my  work.   He  was  an  excellent  craftsman  and 
did  a  very  good  job,  I  thought,  both  in  the  selection  of 
the  various  stages  of  the  process  and  in  posing  the  people 
that  were  involved.   I  engaged  him  to  do  some  work  for 
me.   I  didn't  have--  One  feature  of  the  thing  was  that  he 
did  it,  but  it  didn't  cost  me  anything,  and  he  gave  me  a 
set  of  the  photographs  for  the  privilege  of  doing  the  work, 
so  that  it  worked  out  awfully  well  for  me.   Then,  later, 
when  he  went  into  business,  why,  I  did  buy  some  photography 
from  him.   He  photographed  quite  a  number  of  the  people 
that  I  was  working  with,  but  that  was  rather  hard  for  me  to 
carry  the  burden  of  the  expense,  and  also  it  was  difficult 


to  get  the  artists  into  the  shop  at  the  right  time  and 
everything.   There  were  a  lot  of  arrangements  necessary. 
But  I  did  photograph  quite  a  number  of  people  that  I  worked 
with:   Eugene  Herman  and  Chariot  and  Phil  Dike  and  quite  a 
number  of  others  that  I  worked  with. 
RATNER:   How  long  was  that  book  in  print? 
KISTLER:   Well,  until  it  was  sold  out. 
RATNER:   So  you  just  did  the  one  printing? 
KISTLER:   Yes,  we  just  did  the  one  printing.   I  always 
intended  to  revise  it  and  bring  it  out  in  a  regular  library 
edition,  but  I  never  got  around  to  it.   It's  still  kind  of 
a  hanging  activity  that  might  crop  up  someplace.   Peter 
Morse  was  very  anxious  to  do  a  complete  book  on  lithography 
with  me,  but  it  didn't  seem  to  come  off  in  my  mind,  so  we 
never  got  to  it.   I'd  rather  do,  I  think,  a  series  of  books 
on  lithography  than  do  a  thing  like  Peter  Morse  had  in  mind 
and  wanted  to  get  out,  a  complete  searching  of  the  process 
and  going  into  a  lot  of  the  technical,  chemical  aspects  of 
it,  which  I  wasn't  interested  in.   I  was  interested  in  the 
art  of  lithography  rather  than  its  technical  aspects.   It's 
been  done  by  Tamarind  [Lithography  Workshop].   A  thing  that 
I  should  have  done,  I  guess,  but  it  seemed  too  much  to 
undertake.   Too  much  research,  too  much  fiddling  around  in 
the  libraries  and  things  like  that.   And  I  was  interested 
in  getting  my  sleeves  rolled  up  and  doing  things  on  the 


lithograph  press.   That  was  the  thing  that  interested  me. 

My  work  was  done  from  that  standpoint.   I  wanted  to  see  a 

product  when  I  did  it.   I  didn't  want  to  write  about  it 

very  much.   I  was  willing  to  give  such  information  as  I 

had.   A  lot  of  people  came  to  me  and  asked  me  about  various 

aspects  of  the  lithography,  and  I  went  out  to  clubs  and  to 

art  schools  and  to  various  groups  and  talked  about 

lithography  and  told  them  how  it  was  done  and  everything. 

But  I  wasn't  much  interested  in  researching  the  chemical 

reactions  and  just  how  they  turned  out.   I  was  interested 

in  the  artistic  end  of  it. 

RATNER:   Well,  it's  obvious  that  you  enjoyed  that  part  of 


KISTLER:   I  did.   I  loved  to  print.   It  was  a  great  thrill 

to  me  to  pull  a  piece  of  paper  off  a  stone  and  have  a 

beautiful  print.   I  loved  it. 

RATNER:   I  bet.   It  must  have  been  exciting. 

KISTLER:   As  long  as  I  could  eat,  why,  I  was  satisfied. 

RATNER:   Not  too  much  to  ask.   [laughter] 

KISTLER:   All  I  wanted  to  do  was  print  and  eat.   Eating  was 

a  very  necessary  adjunct  to  my  printing.   [laughter] 

RATNER:   Well,  it's  evident  that  you  wanted  to  share  your 

love  of  the  work  with  other  people.   Not  only  so  you  could 

eat,  but  just,  you  know,  all  the  incredible  effort  you  put 

into  promoting  the  work,   I  read  in  one  place  that  in 


October  '51  you're  saying  in  a  letter,  I  think  to  Chariot, 
that  you  have  so  much  to  do  in  the  way  of  promotion: 
spending  three  hours  for  the  promotional  work  versus  one 
hour  for  production  time.   Then  in  1951,  also,  I  read  that 
you  were  planning  a  catalog  and  a  traveling  show  that  would 
include  about  twenty-five  artists,  which  is  kind  of  a  big 
show  to  circulate  yourself.   What  was  the  level  of  interest 
in  prints  at  this  time,  in  the  early  fifties,  around  the 
country  that  you  were  able  to  circulate  a  show  like  that? 
KISTLER:   Oh,  gee,  I  don't  recall.   I  don't  even  recall 
right  off  the  top  of  my  head  where  I  sent  them,   I  know 
that  I  did  exhibit  in  Oakland,  San  Francisco,  Seattle,  and 
on  the  East  Coast--Cincinnati  and  Chicago  and  New  York, 
Brooklyn- - 

RATNER:   So  a  pretty  wide  distribution. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  did.   Anyplace  that  would  make  a  place  for 
my  show,  why,  I  sent  it.   I  don't  remember  just  how  many 
there  were.   I  don't  even  remember  any  of  the  prints,  but 
if  I  knew  the  date  on  them,  why,  I  could  probably  tell  you 
who  the  artists  were.   But  Jean  Chariot  was  very  helpful. 
His  name  became  very  well  known.   He  was  a  much  loved 
teacher,  and  the  artists  followed  his  work  quite 
actively.   His  name  meant  quite  a  bit.   There  were  other 
artists  that  their  name  meant  a  lot  too,  as  Joe  [Joseph] 
Mugnaini,  who  was  a  very,  very  well  known  teacher.   I  got 


an  awful  lot  of  work  through  him.   I  did  quite  a  bit  of 

work  with  Mugnaini.   He  was  very  prolific  and  imaginative 

and  well  founded  in  mythology  and  history  and  art,  and  he 

was  a  very  good  man  to  work  with.   I  think  that  his  work 

will  be  worth  a  good  deal,  and  I  did  quite  a  volume  of 

printing  with  him.   I  did  a  ten-lithograph  portfolio  with 

him  that  I  think  someday  will  be  sought  after  with  a  great 

deal  of  effort.   One  of  those  is  that  print  up  there. 

That's  one  of  the  ten. 

RATNER:   What's  that  called? 

KISTLER:   That  is  called--  Oh,  I  think  it's  [pause]  A  Tower 

on  Mars . 

RATNER:   A  Tower  on  Mars. 

KISTLER:   And  there's  this  one  here,  which  I  think  has  a 

lot  of  imagination  and  a  tremendously  interesting  print. 

RATNER:   And  does  that  have  a  title  on  it? 

KISTLER:   What  is  the  title? 

RATNER:   I  might  be  able  to  get  up  and  look  at  that.   Let's 

see  how  far  I  can  go.   It's  this  one  right  here-- 

KISTLER:   No,  no-- 

RATNER:   The  Dragon,  it's  called.   Yeah,  The  Dragon.   He 

did  some  work  with  Ray  Bradbury,  I  think,  didn't  he? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  he  did.   Ray  Bradbury  worked  with  Joe 

Mugnaini,  and  I  think  he  is  still  working  with  him.   He  is 

someone  that  you  ought  to  look  up  and  do  the  same  thing  for 


him  that  you're  doing  on  my  work  here.   You'd  have  a 

tremendous  lot.   I  think  that  you'd  find  him  really 


RATNER:   Okay. 

KISTLER:   He's  been  a  teacher  for  a  long  period  of  time. 

He  works  in  all  kinds  of  media  and  is  very  prolific,  quite 

profane  in  a  lot  of  ways.   But  his  imagination  has  a  broad 

aspect  to  it. 

RATNER:   Well,  I  was  wondering  how  you  had  time  to  organize 

those  kinds  of  activities  when  you  were  also  so  busy 


KISTLER:   Well,  they  just  came  off  the  top  of  my  head,  that 

was  all. 

RATNER:   How  much  help  did  you  have,  though,  to  pull  those 

kinds  of  things  together? 

KISTLER:   I  don't  remember.   I  think  that  I  did  them  when  I 

didn't  have  anybody  to  print  for. 

RATNER:   So  you  were  really  a  one-man  show  in  a  lot  of 


KISTLER:   Well-- 

RATNER:   You  had  a  pressman,  I  know. 

KISTLER:   --really  I  was  too  much  that  way.   I  should  have 

put  in  some  time  organizing  a  lithographic  club  and  gotten 

a  group  together,  and  I  think  that  my  work  would  have 

received  more  attention  if  I  had  worked  on  a  broader 


basis.   But  I  think  that  my  work  was  more  or  less 

personal.   I  just  liked  to  print,  that  was  all.   And  I  went 

about  it  in  the  most  direct  way,  and  that  was  to  get 

artists  in.   When  they  came  to  me,  why,  I  printed  for 

them . 

RATNER:   Well,  in  addition  to  all  these  promotional  kinds 

of  things  we've  talked  about  and  the  publishing  of  the 

Bulletin  and  the  book  on  lithography--!  can't  believe  how 

busy  you  were--in  April  of  '51,  you  mention  in  a  letter  to 

Chariot  that  you  are  going  to  begin  to  give  lithography 

classes  with  guest  artists.   Each  session  would  last 

approximately  one  month  and  would  teach  both  technique  and 

the  art.   The  teachers  that  you  had  lined  up  included 

Stanton  Macdonald-Wright ,  Clinton  Adams,  and  Richard 

Haines.   I  guess  you  asked  Chariot,  also,  if  he  would  be 

willing  to  teach. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  did,  but  I  never  got  that  organized. 

RATNER:   That  program  never  got  off  the  ground? 

KISTLER:   No,  no,  it  didn't. 

RATNER:   Oh,  it  was  a  great  idea. 

KISTLER:   Well,  it  was,  but  it  would  have  been  a  great  idea 

if  I  had  gotten  the  artists  that  I  had  expected  to  and  had 

wanted  to. 

RATNER:   So  it  was  on  the  part  of  the  artists  that  it 

didn't  work  out?   You  couldn't  get  the-- 


KISTLER:   Oh,  I  can't  blame  them. 

RATNER:   Artists  who  were  going  to  come  in  and  learn  or 

artists  who  were  going  to  teach? 

KISTLER:   They  were  going  to  teach. 

RATNER:   Those  were  the  people  that  you  were  having  trouble 

lining  up? 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   I  see. 

KISTLER:   I  really  bit  off  too  much  sometimes. 

RATNER:   Well,  you  certainly  had  a  lot  going  in  those  two 

or  three  years  there. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   I  tried  to  work  in  too  many  directions.   I 

should  have  had  people  that  could  help  me  out  on  it.   But 

there  was  nobody  that  was  available.   There  were  one  or  two 

teachers  and  a  teacher  at  USC  [University  of  Southern 

California] .   And  UCLA  finally  got  their  own  art  department, 

and  June  Wayne  ran  off  in  her  own  direction,  and-- 

RATNER:   Then  here's  another  thing  you  planned  at  about  the 

same  time  also,  which  I'm  not  sure  happened,  but  in  a 

letter  to  Jean  Chariot  dated  July  '51,  you  mention  plans  to 

write  a  definitive  textbook  for  students  on  lithography. 

Apparently,  a  number  of  people  had  already  agreed  to 

contribute  chapters,  including  Merle  Armitage,  Clinton 

Adams,  June  Wayne,  William  Brice,  Richard  Haines,  and 

possibly  Eugene  Berman  and  Rico  Lebrun.   You  go  on  to  say 


that  you're  basing  the  book  on  the  best  artists  that  you've 
printed  and  that  each  artist  would  discuss  how  he  had 
approached  the  medium,  the  technical  aspects,  etc.,  and 
that  it  would  include  one  example  of  each  artist's  work 
with  the  individual ' s  commentary  on  how  the  work  was 
accomplished.   Then  you  would,  in  turn,  discuss  what  was 
involved  in  printing  that  particular  work.   What  was  the 
genesis  of  that  whole  project? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  think  what  you  read  there  is  a  genesis  of 
it.   It  was  a  thing  that  I  wanted  to  do  that  I  just  had  too 
much  that  I  was  trying  to  do.   I  couldn't  bring  it  all  off. 
RATNER:   That  was  another  good  idea. 
KISTLER:   Yeah,  it  was  a  good  idea. 

RATNER:   Well,  that's  great  that  all  of  those  people  had 
agreed  to  participate  and  to  contribute. 

KISTLER:   But  none  of  them  ever  turned  in  their  papers  or 
anything,  so  I  never--  I  had  too  many  fish  to  fry  all  in 
one  skillet.   [laughter]   Some  of  them  just  never  got  into 
the  frying  pan.   Maybe  I  had  too  many  ideas.   Sounds  to  me 
like  I  did,  now  that  you  bring  them  to  my  attention. 
RATNER:   Well,  they  were  a  lot  of  very  good  ideas. 
KISTLER:   Yes,  I  think  they  were. 

RATNER:   At  least  the  ideas  you  had  were  good  ones. 
KISTLER:   Well,  I've  had  a  lot  of  good  ideas.   My  whole 
trouble  is  getting  them  going. 


RATNER:   Well,  here's  something  you  did  do.   In  1952  you 
prepared  and  circulated  a  catalog  of  prints  for  Jean 
Chariot  and  Eugene  Berman.   You  mailed  it  to  art  schools, 
museums,  and  collectors  to  help  sell  their  prints.   And 
you,  in  previous  sessions,  mentioned  Eugene  Berman,  but  we 
never  talked  about  how  you  met  him. 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  met  him  through  Jean  Chariot.   He  brought 
him  to  me,  and  I  worked  with  him.   He  was  one  of  the 
outstanding  artists  that  I  did  work  with.   He  was  not 
particularly  fond  of  the  lithographic  medium.   He  expected 
more  of  it  than  he  put  into  it,  really.   He  worked  very 
hard,  but  he  was  a  hard  man  to  satisfy  and  he  was  very 
critical  of  the  work  that  I  did.   He  didn't  think  that  I 
was  getting  out  of  the  stone  the  thing  that  he  put  on  it, 
and  I  tried  to  convince  him  that  I  did  do  his  work  as  well 
as  it  could  be  done.   He  seemed  to  think  that  there  ought 
to  be  things  that  come  out  of  the  stone  that  he  didn't  put 
on  the  stone.   He  was  not  a  finished  technician,  and  I 
couldn't  take  him  beyond  his  own  abilities. 

So  he  started  to  look  around  town  for  another  litho- 
grapher.  He  thought  he'd  get  somebody  who  would  do  a 
better  job  than  I  was  doing.   And  he  went  to  Lorser 
Feitelson,  and  he  said,  "Lorser,  I'm  working  with  a  litho- 
grapher down  here,  and  I  don't  think  that  he's  getting--" 
[tape  recorder  off]   He  went  to  Lorser  and  said,  "Lorser, 


I'm  working  with  a  lithographer  down  here,  and  I  don't 
think  he  knows  his  business."   So  Lorser  says,  "Well,  who 
are  you  working  with?"   He  said,  "Well,  I'm  working  with 
Kistler."   And  Lorser  said,  "Well,  good  Lord,"  he  says, 
"that's  the  best  man  there  is.   What  do  you  want?" 
[laughter]   So  he  very  humbly  came  back  to  me,  and  he  was  a 
good  dog  after  that.   [laughter]   I  had  no  more  trouble 
with  him.   He  realized  that  I  had  my  problems  in  getting 
out  of  the  stone  what  he  expected  of  it,  and  if  it  wasn't 
there,  that  we  could  work  around  some  way  to  get  it  out  of 
the  stone  or  get  it  on  the  stone  so  that  I  could  get  it  out 
of  the  stone. 

There's  one  print  that  I  did  with  Eugene  Berman  which 
is  called  Nocturnal  Cathedral .   It  was  a  four-color 
lithograph,  and  we  worked  on  it  quite  a  long  time.   I 
remember  one  proof  of  the  Nocturnal  Cathedral  that  I  pulled 
for  him,  and,  gee,  he  just  marked  it  up  in  all  kinds  of 
ways.   This  was  wrong  and  that  was  wrong,  too  dark  here, 
too  light  there,  too  much  this,  too  much  that,  the  ink 
wasn't  right,  and  everything  else.   Then  he  left  for  the 
East,  and  I  sent  him  the  final  print  on  it.   He  sent  it 
back  as  a  proof  for  me  to  work  to,  and  it  said,  "Bravo! 
Beautiful."   [laughter]   But  I've  never  had  so  much  markup 
and  so  much  to  correct  and  so  much  to  do  on  a  stone  to 
bring  it  into  what  he  expected  of  it,  and  I  was  very  much 


elated  when  I  got  it  back.   Both  the  print  that  is  all 
marked  up  and  also  the  final  printing  of  the  print  is  in 
the  Smithsonian  Institution  now. 


MARCH  7,  1989 

RATNER:   Okay,  before  I  flipped  the  tape,  you  were  just 

telling  me--wrapping  up  the  story  about  Eugene  Berman--that 

the  print's  in  the  Smithsonian.   What  else  did  you  want  to 

add  about  that? 

KISTLER:   Well,  that's  about  all.   It  ended  up  in  the 

collection  in  the  Smithsonian  Institution:   the  marked-up 

print,  the  corrections  that  he  wanted  on  it,  and  also  this 

final  print  that  had  written  on  it,  "Bravo!   Beautiful. 

Excellent. " 

RATNER:   That's  great,  that's  great.   Those  were  prints 

that  were  part  of  your  collection  that  went  to  the 


KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   What  gallery  represented  him  in  town? 

KISTLER:   I  don't  believe  he  had  any  recognition  here.   He 

was  more  a  set  designer  for  stage  sets  and  things  like 

that.   The  work  that  we  did  together,  they  all  reflected 

that  theatrical  aspect.   This  print  the  Nocturnal  Cathedral 

was  very,  oh,  theatrical,  you  know.   It  reflected  that,  the 

theater,  very  much. 

RATNER:   Okay.   Well,  shortly  thereafter,  in  1952,  which 

we've  talked  about  a  little  bit  previously,  actually,  you 

apparently  developed  a  really  painful  allergy  to  the  acids 


used  in  the  hand  printing. 
KISTLER:   Yeah. 

RATNER:   And  so  you  had  stop  most  of  your  printing  from 
stone.   I  guess  your  wife  at  the  time,  Helen  [Mikesell 
Kistler] ,  she  seems  to  have  been  fairly  involved  in  the 
business.   I  read  somewhere  that  she  was  really  urging  you 
to  increase  your  commercial  clientele,  which  was  not  only 
more  lucrative,  but  it  seems  it  was  less  abrasive  on  your 
skin.   So  you  sold  the  property  at  Third  [Street]  and 
Carondelet  [Street]  and  set  up  a  shop  at  1653  West  Temple 
[Street],  which  you've  mentioned  before,  where  you 
installed  power  printing  equipment. 

KISTLER:   I  bought  two  printing  presses  there  to  start 
with.   The  business  went  very  well.   I  could  never  get  away 
from  the  artistic  end  of  the  thing,  and  this  thing  with 
Stanton  Macdonald-Wright  and  several  of  the  prints  that  I 
did  with  Jean  Chariot--  The  second  Picture  Book  [Picture 
Book  No.  II]  was  done  by  a  direct  printing  from  a 
lithographic  plate  on  an  offset  press.   I  explored  the 
possibilities  there  to  quite  an  extent. 

RATNER:   That's  what  I  was  wondering.   By  using  the  offset, 
what  additional  or  innovative  materials  were  you  able  to 
use,  in  terms  of  the  fine  art  printing,  that  you  couldn't 
do  with  stone  lithography? 
KISTLER:   Well,  I  think  that  what  I  did  was  to  try  to  apply 


to  the  offset  press  the  results  that  I  got  in  hand 
printing,  and  I  think  that  I  did  it  to  an  unusual  degree. 
RATNER:   What  kind  of  effects  would  the  average  printer 
lose  in  offset,  as  opposed  to  stone,  that  you  were  trying 
to  achieve?   Do  you  know  what  I'm  saying? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  that's  a  tough  one.   Well,  principally,  the 
intimacy  of  working  on  the  stone.   The  printer  could  have 
greater  access  to  corrective  facilities.   I  never--  There 
are  certain  things  about  a  stone  quality  that  are  awfully 
hard  to  duplicate  exactly  on  an  offset  press,  but  I  think 
that  I  came  pretty  close  to  doing  it.   I  could  print  larger 
editions  on  the  offset  press  than  I  could  by  hand  because 
of  the  cost,  because  it  costs  too  much  to  print  them  by 
hand.   But,  on  the  other  hand,  you  had  to  have  large 
editions  to  make  it  pay,  because  it  was  more  expensive  to 
set  up  the  press,  get  it  started,  and  get  the  prints 
printing  the  way  that  you  wanted  them  to.   On  the  offset 
press  it  was  harder  than  on  the  handpress. 
RATNER:   Really? 

KISTLER:   On  the  handpress  I  could  run  up  a  proof  in  a  few 
minutes.   Simply  put  the  stone  on  the  press  and  yank  it  up 
and  pull  it  through  the  press.   But  on  the  offset  press  you 
had  to  make  so  many  adjustments.   You  had  to  accommodate 
the  press  to  the  size  of  the  paper  that  you  were  printing 
on,  the  kind  of  paper  that  you  were  printing  on,  and  you 


had  to  get  your  ink  set.   You'd  have  to  pull  numerous 
proofs  just  blank,  and  I  had  a  stack  of  paper  about  three* 
or  four  feet  high  that  I  used  as  wastepaper  that  we  had  to 
run  through  the  offset  press.   You'd  have  to  set  the  press 
as  it  was  running.   You  had  to  set  a  feeder  on  the  press 
and  the  pressures  and  everything,  and  they  all  had  to  be 
accommodated  in  running  condition.   To  print  a  hundred 
prints,  why,  you'd  have  to  pull  two  hundred  or  three 
hundred  prints  to  get  it  set,  to  get  the  ink  flowing  evenly 
over  the  whole  surface  of  the  plate  and  get  the  proper 
amount  on  and  set  up  all  of  the  requirements. 

So  that  you  had  an  expensive  piece  of  machinery  tied 
up,  and  sometimes  it  was  just  laying  there  while  the  artist 
was  making  changes  on  it  on  the  offset  press.   Whereas  you 
could  lift  the  stone  off  of  the  stone  printing  press  and 
give  it  to  the  artist  and  he  could  work  on  it  on  a  bench, 
and  you  put  another  stone  on  and  go  ahead  with  it.   But  you 
couldn't  do  that  on  the  offset  press,  because  once  you've 
started  the  job  on  the  press,  you  had  to  achieve  your 
printing,  your  final  printing.   Your  edition  had  to  be 
printed  at  that  time,  and  the  artist  had  to  make  up  his 
mind  in  less  time  to  give  his  okay.   For  instance,  if  the 
artist  wanted  to  think  it  over  for  a  day,  why,  that  would 
mean  that  you  would  have  to  lay  up  your  press  for  a  day, 
because  you  had  it  set  just  the  way  that  it  would  be  for 


the  printing.   There  are  a  number  of  things  like  that  that 
are  really  mechanical  and  indigenous  to  the  offset  printing 
that  do  not  occur  in  the  stone  printing. 

In  printing  some  of  the  things  that  I  did  for 
Macdonald-Wright  and  some  others  that  ran  into  several 
colors,  it  became  quite  complicated  and  stretched  out  over 
a  long  period  of  time.   You  take  a  press  that  commercially 
you  could  make  $200  or  $300  a  day  on  just  printing 
commercial  work,  make  that  much  profit,  it  became  a 
financial  problem.   Because,  also,  if  you  only  had  one 
press,  why,  you'd  have  one  pressman.   You're  losing  the 
pressman's  time,  and  also  it  costs  money  to  keep  an  offset 
press  on  the  floor  just  sitting  there.   So  there  was  a 
financial  problem  that  had  to  be  met,  and  the  artist,  for 
that  reason,  was  pushed  quite  heavily.   When  they  started 
the  thing,  they  had  to  be--  Well,  they  had  to  know  what  the 
result  was  that  they  were  trying  to  achieve  so  that  there 
wasn't  too  much  wasted  time  in  laying  around. 

That  could  be  overcome  with  larger  editions.   It  would 
take  a  day's  time  to  pull  a  good  edition  of  fifty  to  a 
hundred  prints  by  hand  in  a  stone  printing,  and  your 
capacity  on  the  offset  press  was  several  thousand.   You 
could  do  fifteen  thousand  or  twenty  thousand  prints  in  a 
day.   It  had  that  capacity.   I  never  printed  quite  that 
many,  but  you  could  if  you  had  distribution  for  them. 


When  I  closed  my  plant  completely,  I  was  up  against-- 
I  told  you  before  that  I  had  this  problem  of  allergies 
amongst  myself  and  my  health,  and  my  pressman  was 
quitting.   It  had  taken  me  quite  a  long  time  to  get 
somebody  that  could  do  the  work  and  would  do  it  and  was 
patient  enough  to  the  unorthodox  method  of  running  an 
offset  press  that  we  used  it  for,  that  is  to  stop  it  and 
sometimes  stand  around  for  an  hour  or  two  while  corrections 
were  made  on  the  plate  or  a  new  plate  was  provided  by  the 

But,  by  and  large,  the  result  that  you  could  get  on 
the  offset  press  matched  that  that  you  could  get  on  the 
stone,  that  is,  if  you  could  get  zinc.   The  commercial 
people  quit  using  zinc-- 
RATNER:   Right,  you  mentioned  that. 

KISTLER:   --because  it  was  difficult  to  print  from,  and 
aluminum  came  in.   Aluminum  was  a  much  better  metal  as  far 
as  reproductive  work  was  concerned,  and  so  they  just  quit 
rolling  zinc.   So  it  came  down,  eventually,  so  that  you 
couldn't  get  the  zinc  grained  properly  and  you  couldn't  get 
the  metal  in  the  first  place,  and  so  we  had  to  accommodate 
ourselves  to  the  aluminum  in  the  offset  work.   That  was 
overcome  by  the  number  of  colors  that  you  would  print  on  a 
print,  for  one  thing--one  way  of  getting  around  it--and 
various  accommodations  that  we  had  to  make  in  putting  the 


work  on  the  plate. 

The  supply  people  who  were  able  to  furnish  good 
lithographic  materials  like  etches  and  gums  and  things  of 
that  sort  commenced  to  change  their  chemicals  and  things, 
and  that  made  it  a  difficulty  as  far  as  doing  artists'  work 
on  the  offset  press.   But  it  could  be  worked  out.   Then 
this  other  problem  of  the  fact  that  you'd  have  to  air- 
condition  your  plant  for  the  health  of  the  employees  and 
take  some  good  many  other  ramifications  and  use  different 
materials  to  protect  people  from,  you  know,  just--  They 
would  develop  horrible  sores  and  rashes  and  things  like 
that,  and  you'd  only  overcome  it  by  eliminating  materials 
that  you  were  using.   We  were  up  against  that.   So  today 
they've  worked  it  out  so  there  are  more  facilities  for 
adjusting  the  press.   You  don't  have  to  get  your  hands  into 
an  offset  press  today  to  run  it  as  much  as  we  did  when  I 
was  doing  it.   We  had  to  have  our  hands  in  the  acid  and  in 
the  water  and  everything,  and  it's  just  hard  on  you,  hard 
on  a  printer  physically.   So  with  all  of  those  problems 
that  I  was  faced  with,  I  just  figured  that  I  couldn't  go 
any  further  with  it.   Some  of  them  have  been  worked  out, 
and  I  don't  know  just  what  they're  doing  now. 
RATNER:   Well,  let  me  back  up  just  a  little  bit  to  when-- 
When  you  first  moved  to  the  new  location,  you  started  using 
these  power  presses.   A  few  artists  that  you  had  already 


been  printing  with  for  some  time,  such  as  Chariot  and 
Clinton  Adams  and  Eugene  Berman  and  June  Wayne,  they 
continued  to  print  with  you.   Did  you  still  have  a  stone 
press  in  this  place,  or  were  they  all  using  the  offset? 
KISTLER:   Yes,  I  still  had  a  stone  press,  and  I  did  some 
stone  work  for  a  while. 

RATNER:   Then  I  know  some  artists  resisted  the  idea  of 
using  the  offset.   They  just  wanted  to  do  the  stone 
printing.   I  know  you  just  gave  me  a  number  of  reasons. 
Were  there  any  other  major  reasons  why  an  artist  would 
prefer  to  remain  with  the  stone  rather  than  using  the 

KISTLER:   Well,  the  cost  of  short  editions  was  so  high  on 
the  offset  press  that  there  were  only  a  few  of  them  that 
could  use  it.   The  costs  went  up  considerably  on  the  offset 
press,  which  at  that  time  was  maybe  $30  or  $40  an  hour. 
The  artists  just  couldn't  stand  it.   It  was  too  much.   I 
couldn't  stand  it  either. 

RATNER:   You'd  think,  without  knowing  all  the  details,  that 
being  able  to  print  more  per  hour,  of  course,  would  be  less 
expensive.   But  then  you  don't  realize  all  the  setup  time 
and  everything  involved. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   The  whole  thing  is  too  big  a  thing.   It  was 
too  large  a  project.   In  other  words,  you  had  to  have  an 
expensive  printing  plant.   You  had  to  have  the  following 


that  wanted  the  lithographs  that  would  take  the 
production.   You  could  overcome  the  situation  by  printing 
enough  prints.   If  you  could  print  a  thousand  of  a  print-- 
And  you  could  do  that  in  a  few  minutes  of  actual  running 
time.   After  you'd  gotten  it,  of  course,  set  up,  it  was 
nothing  at  all.   You  could  run  a  thousand  prints  in  fifteen 
or  twenty  minutes  after  you  had  gotten  it  to  running.   But 
what  are  you  going  to  do  with  a  thousand  prints  after 
you've  got  them?   You've  got  to  have  a  large  organization 
that  is  really  pushing  them  the  way  that  things  are  pushed 
on  the  television  now  and  on  radio  and  newspaper.   Gee,  the 
advertising  that  is  done  today  is  just  stupendous.   You're 
not  buying  the  product.   You're  buying  today  the  privilege 
of  being  sold.   The  selling  of  the  product  doesn't  anywhere 
match  or  has  no  relation  to  the  cost  of  the  materials  at 
the  time  of  the  manufacturing  of  the  product.   Many  of 
these  things,  particularly  things  like  canned  goods  and 
toothpaste  and  things  like  that,  there's  no  relation. 
RATNER:   Though  I  guess  a  lot  of  artists  probably  wouldn't 
have  even  wanted  such  a  large  edition  anyway. 
KISTLER:   They  had  no  way  to  get  rid  of  them. 
RATNER:   Yeah,  yeah. 

KISTLER:   Never  able  to  establish  a  distribution.   It's 
open  today  if  somebody  would  take  it  up  and  really  push  it 
and  put  it  on  television.   People  buy  anything  you — 


RATNER:   Yeah. 

KISTLER:   And  at  any  cost. 

RATNER:   What  was  the  gallery  and  museum  situation  in  terms 

of  interest  during  the  early  fifties?   I  know  I  have  here 

in  a  letter  to  Jean  Chariot  during  the  early  fifties,  this 

period  when  you  have  just  moved  your  plant  and  prior  to-- 

You  say,  "There  is  considerable  new  interest  in  prints 

here.   One  or  two  galleries  are  specializing  in  them." 

This  is  a  gallery  I  hadn't  heard  of:   "Chabot  Gallery  is  a 

small  gallery  on  the  edge  of  Beverly  Hills  with  a  very  good 

following."   What  do  you  recall  about  that? 

KISTLER:   Well,  Chabot  tried  to  sell  prints,  but  they  just 

didn't  see  far  enough  or  see  big  enough, and  they  didn't 

have  the  capitalization  to  do  the  job. 

RATNER:   So  how  long  were  they  around? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  they  were  around  for  eight  or  ten  years, 

something  like  that.   They  eked  out  a  living  at  it. 

RATNER:   So  they  were  one  of  the  few  that  were  really 

concentrating  on  prints,  it  sounds  like. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  but  they  couldn't  sell  any  great  body  of 

prints.   You'd  have  to  have  a  hundred  galleries  that  were 

interested  in  it,  and  it's  something  that  could  be  done 

today  if  you  had  enough  money--a  matter  of  money  entirely — 

and  put  on  an  advertising  campaign.   That  thing  there,  the 

television,  would  be  just  absolutely  perfect  for  doing 


it.   But  I  never  was  in  contact  with  anybody  that  had  the 
money,  because  it  might  run  into  $2  or  $3  million.   It 
would  pay  off  proportionately,  but  it  costs  money.   It 
costs  more  money  to  sell  the  goods  today  in  so  many 
instances  than  it  does  for  the  manufacture  of  the  goods. 
The  advertising  and  the  distribution  is  so  expensive.   You 
buy  toothpaste,  and  the  cost  of  the  materials  that  go  into 
the  toothpaste,  there  isn't  twenty-five  cents  worth, 
including  all  of  the  packing,  the  printing  of  the  boxes, 
and  the  materials  to  make  the  toothpaste,  and  everything 
else.   It  has  absolutely  no  relation  to  what  you  pay  for 
it.   It  is  a  few  cents,  and  it  sells  for  three  and  four 
dollars  a  little  dinky  tube. 

RATNER:   Yeah.   I  also  just  wanted  to  ask  you  before  we 
wrapped  up  today  a  couple  of  things  about  kind  of  what  was 
happening  in  Los  Angeles  during  the  fifties.   I  think  I 
mentioned  to  you  before  that  I  had  read  an  interview  with 
June  Wayne  to  help  me  prepare  for  your  interview,  and  she 
recounts  an  incident  that  occurred  during  the  McCarthy  era, 
when  some  members  of  the  Los  Angeles  City  Council  attempted 
to  censor  the  subject  matter  in  various  artists'  work.   I 
guess  a  whole  group  of  artists  went  down  to  the  city 
council  and  protested  or  something,  and  I  wondered  what  you 
recalled  about  any  of  those  incidents  or  that  period  in 
general . 


KISTLER:   I  didn't  get  involved  in  that  at  all. 

RATNER:   Okay.   Then  finally,  following  some  of  these 

incidents,  I  guess  to  help  people  understand  modern  art 

better,  the  Ford  Foundation  funded  a  series  called   "You 

and  Modern  Art, "  which  was  organized  by  Jules  Langsner,  and 

I  wondered  how  familiar  you  were  with  that  series. 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  wasn't  familiar  with  that  at  all.   That 

was  the  thing  that  he  tried  to  do.   It  never  got  off  the 

ground  either. 

RATNER:   It  didn't? 


RATNER:   I  guess  the  idea  there--which,  of  course,  would 

have  helped  you  in  a  way- -was  to  help  people  understand 

modern  art  a  little  bit  better,  and,  of  course,  to  increase 

the  interest  in  the  market. 

KISTLER:   Well,  Jules  Langsner  was  the  man  who  brought  June 

Wayne  to  me.   I  was  the  only  one  that  was  doing  any  offset 

printing  at  that  time  on  stone.   He  was  the  man  that  got 

June  Wayne  to  come  into  my  place. 

RATNER:   Okay,  I  think  maybe  we'll  go  ahead  and  wrap  it  up 

here  and  pick  it  up  next  time,  unless  you  have  anything 

else  you  wanted  to  add  about  what  we've  talked  about  today. 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  don't  know  of  anything. 

RATNER:   Okay. 

KISTLER:   You  pull  things  out  of  my  memory  that  I  had 


forgotten  about  entirely. 

RATNER:   Well,  good,  that's  my  job.   Okay,  well,  we'll  pick 

it  up  again  next  time. 

KISTLER:   All  right,  and  what  do  you  want  to  talk  about 

next  time? 

RATNER:   We're  going  to  talk  a  little  bit  more  about  the 

fifties  and  the  opening  of  Tamarind  and  then  the  move  of 

your  plant  from  Temple  to  Menlo  Avenue. 


MARCH  21,  1989 

RATNER:   We're  going  to  begin  today  by  looking  at  a  series 
of  slides,  both  from  your  book  on  lithography  [How  To  Make 
a  Lithograph]  and  then  some  lithographs  that  you've  printed 
over  the  years.   So  why  don't  you  just  go  ahead  and  begin 
with  this  first  slide. 

KISTLER:   All  right,  this  is  one  of  my  students  who 
established  himself  in  San  Francisco,  and  he  is  working  in 
his  lithograph  shop.   The  stone  is  on  the  press.   He  has  a 
sponge  in  his  hand,  and  he  is  damping  the  stone  and  getting 
ready  to  roll  it.   [next  slide]   This  is  a  first  operation 
that  I  had  in  making  a  print.   The  paper  was  all  damped 
down  so  that  it  was  just  limp.   It  wasn't  real  wet.   It  was 
just  limp  so  that  it  made--  It  fit  down  onto  the  stone,  and 
you  didn't  have  to  use  so  much  pressure  to  get  the 
impression  off  of  the  stone.   [tape  recorder  off] 

Well,  this  is  the  first  operation  in  preparation  of 
the  stone.   You  put  one  stone  on  top  of  the  other,  and  you 
grind  off  the  old  image,  if  necessary,  and  get  a  nice  grain 
on  the  stone  and  get  it  ready  for  the  artist  to  work  on. 
[next  slide]   That  stone  must  be  absolutely  level  all  over 
the  same  surface.   It  is  leveled  out  all  over  by  putting  a 
straight  edge  on  the  stone  and  a  piece  of  tissue  paper 
under  it,  and  pull  it  out  and  you  judge  how  much  the  stone 


has  been  ground.   You  go  over  the  whole  stone  with  that 
straight  edge  and  the  piece  of  tissue  paper  and  pull  it 
out,  so  that  you  get  the  same  level  all  over  the  whole 
stone  so  that  it's  even.   [next  slide]   That's  where  the 
final  finish  is  put  on.   You  start  out  with  a  coarse  grind, 
and  then  you  put  a  finer  grain  on  the  stone  according  to 
what  the  artist  wants  and  whether  you  want  a  coarse  grain 
or  whether  you  want  a  fine  grain.   The  grain  varies  from  a 
very  fine  grain  to  a  very  coarse  grain.   I've  used  all 
kinds  of  grain  in  making  lithographs.   [next  slide] 

That  is  the  artist  drawing  on  the  stone.   This  is  Jean 
Chariot  working  on  one  of  the  stones.   The  drawing  is  made 
with  a  grease  crayon,  and  various  hardness  of  crayon  gives 
you  a  difference  in  the  grain  on  the  stone  and  the 
intensity  of  the  drawing.   [next  slide]   The  artist  draws 
the  design  on  the  stone  the  right  way,  and  the  stone--  Of 
course,  some  of  them  object  to  their  drawings  being 
reversed,  so  this  is  a  method  that  is  used  when  the  artist 
wants  the  drawing  to  come  out  the  way  that  they  have  it 
drawn  on  the  stone.   So  they  draw  it  backwards,  and  then  it 
prints  the  right  way. 

RATNER:   So  she's  using  a  mirror  there? 

KISTLER:  She  is  using  a  mirror.  The  sketch  is  put  up  and 
it's  reflected  into  the  mirror,  and  the  artist  follows  the 
design  in  the  mirror  rather  than  the  original. 


RATNER:   Who  is  that  drawing? 

KISTLER:   That's  Mary  Finley  Fry.   She  was  one  of  my 

lithographers,  and  she  was  a  very  fine  lithographer.   [next 


The  printer  has  to  judge  the  strength  of  the  etch 
according  to  the  drawing,  whether  it's  on  a  stone  light  or 
whether  the  stone  is  grained  heavily  or  lightly.   According 
to  the  drawing,  the  etch,  which  is  composed  of  gum  arable 
and  nitric  acid--  And  I  used  a  few  drops  of  phosphoric  acid 
and  a  little  bit  of  tannic  acid  in  my  etch.   Using  several 
different  acids  did  a  great  deal  for  the  print.   The  nitric 
acid,  of  course,  bit  into  the  stone  and  cleaned  it  so  that 
the  gum  arable  would  adhere  to  the  stone.   The  phosphoric 
acid  had  a  cleaning  effect  and  made  the  stone  run  cleaner 
than  just  with  the  plain  nitric  acid  that  some  of  the 
lithographers  used.   And  the  tannic  acid  had  the  effect  of 
making  the  gum  a  little  bit  tougher  and  lasted  longer.   I 
could  print  longer  without  re-etching.   I  found  that  it  was 
necessary  to  re-etch  the  stone  as  I  went  along,  and  using 
this  complicated  etch  I  could  pull  more  prints  without  re- 
etching.   The  phosphoric  acid  was  not  a  mordant  etch,  so  it 
cleaned  the  stone  and  made  the  gum  arable  adhere  to  the 
stone  more  firmly  in  some  ways  and  got  away  from  scumming 
as  it  printed.   It  made  my  prints  come  clean.   I  didn't 
have  to  etch  so  often.   [next  slide] 


The  etch  was  put  on  with  a  wide  camel's  hair  brush, 
and  it  was  smoothed  down  and  dried.   Sometimes  we  would  let 
it,  the  stone,  rest  overnight  and  we  wouldn't  print  until 
the  next  day.   But  I  found  that  with  my  multiple  etch--that 
is,  using  three  different  acids  in  my  etch--that  I  could 
print  immediately  and  I  wouldn't  have  any  loss  of  my 
image.   I  would  get  as  good  an  impression  as  I  could  if  I 
left  the  stone  overnight.   [tape  recorder  off] 

Those  are  the  rollers  that  I  used  to  roll  the  ink  onto 
the  stone.   [next  slide]   The  first  thing  was  to  clean  the 
old  ink  off.   I  started  off  by  scraping  the  old  ink  off  of 
the  stone.   That's  a  leather-covered  roller,  and  you 
scraped  it  to  get  it  so  that  it  was  clean.   You  get  the  old 
ink  off,  because  the  ink  and  the  water  on  the  stone  have  a 
tendency  to  unite  there  and  make  it  kind  of  muddy.   You  had 
to  scrape  your  roller  every  once  in  a  while  to  keep  it  nice 
and  clean.   [next  slide]   The  ink  is  rolled  out  on  a 
slab.   I  had  a  large  piece  of  glass  that  I  rolled  out  my 
ink  on  and  got  it  very  thin,  a  nice  thin  film  of  ink  to  go 
onto  the  stone.   [next  slide]   The  first  thing  that  we  did 
was  to  wash  all  of  the  drawing  off  of  the  stone.   I  used 
water  and  turpentine  to  wash  all  of  the  crayon  off.   And  it 
didn't  damage  the  image  at  all.   When  I  got  through,  why, 
[next  slide]  there  was  just  the  ghost  image  left  on  the 
stone.   And  the  water,  of  course,  went  where  there  was  no 


ink  on  the  stone,  and  the  turpentine  took  the  ink  off  of 
the  stone,  so  that  you  have  an  absolutely  flat  surface  that 
you're  printing  from.   [next  slide]   That  is--  I'm  rolling 
the  stone  up  there,  and  usually  one  or  two  rollings  of  the 
stone  puts  enough  ink  on  so  that  you  get  a  nice,  brilliant 
print.   [next  slide]   The  edges  of  the  design  were  usually 
cleaned  up  before  the  edition  was  pulled,  because  very 
often  the  artist  wanted  a  sharp  edge  on  their  print,  and  so 
I  cleaned  it  up  with  a  stick  of--  Oh,  I  can't  seem  to 
function  right  now. 

RATNER:   It  was  some  kind  of  an  eraser? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  it's  just  a--  I'm  sorry  I  can't--  [a  pumice 

RATNER:   That's  all  right.   It  will  come  to  you.   Do  you 
want  to  just  go  ahead  to  the  next  slide  and  then  maybe 
you'll  think  of  it? 

KISTLER:   [next  slide]   The  stone  was  dried  after  it  was 
rolled.   It  was  dried,  and  then  the  paper  was  laid.   It  was 
fanned  dry.   Each  one  of  these  prints--  The  stone  had  to  be 
dried  before  I  could  pull  the  print.   [next  slide]   The 
paper  was  laid  on  the  stone,  and  then  [next  slide]  it  was 
pulled  through  the  press.   That's  the  scraper  press.   You 
put  packing  on  top  of  the  paper  and  then  a  tympan  for  it  to 
ride  on,  and  you  pull  it  through  the  press.   It's  a 
scraping  effect.   You  put  a  little  grease  on  the  tympan  to 


make  it  slide  easily,  and  you  pull  the  stone  under  the 
scraper,  which  is  held  as  a  part  of  the  press.   The  stone 
is  pulled  under  the  scraper  to  get  the  impression.   [next 
slide]   And  that  is  pulling  the  impression  there.   You  pull 
the  paper  off,  then  you  have  your  print.   [next  slide] 

It's  examined  by  the  artist,  and  if  there  are  any 
corrections,  why,  you  can  take  out  parts  and  you  can  put  in 
new  parts.   The  drawing  can  be  corrected  or  changed 
considerably  after  it  has  been  drawn.   I  have  made 
corrections  and  changes  that  changed  the  complete  aspect  of 
the  print  after  the  first  impression.   I  use  a  Carborundum 
grit  to  regrain  the  stone.   You  take  a  small  piece  of 
stone,  and  you  regrain  it  right  at  the  point  that  you  want 
to  correct  it.   And  you  get  so  that--  It  is  something  that 
has  to  be  done  with  a  great  deal  of  precision  and  skill  on 
the  part  of  the  artist  and  very  carefully  by  the  printer 
not  to  ruin  the  whole  drawing.   [next  slide] 

This  is  a  device  that  I  made.   It's  a  three-point 
device  for  registering  the  print.   I  found  that  I  could 
print  much  faster  with  this  device.   You  lay  the  three 
points  on  the  paper,  which  must  be  uniform.   Each  one  of 
the  pieces  of  paper  that  you  print  from  must  be  uniform, 
and  you  can  lay  it  on  there  and  you  can  print  much 
faster.   I  had  to  arrange  to  take  the  guide,  the  three- 
point  guide,  off  before  I  pulled  it  through  the  press.   It 


was  quite  an  ingenious  rig  that  I  had.   It  gave  me  a  very 

close  registry  without  too  much  difficulty,  and  I  could  do 

my  own  laying.   It's  necessary  to  have  two  people  to  lay  a 

print  to  register  if  you  use  needles.   And  I  like  this 

method  very  much.   It  worked  out. 

RATNER:   Did  you  patent  that  or  anything? 

KISTLER:   No,  I  didn't  patent  it.   I  had  screws  that  I 

could  change  the  register  so  that  it  fit  just  exactly  in-- 

very  precise.   [next  slide] 

After  the  prints  were  printed,  they  had  to  be  dried. 
The  ink  had  to  be  thoroughly  dry,  and  the  prints  had  to  be 
thoroughly  dry.   They  had  to  be  wet  down  again,  and  I  put 
them  between  blotters  individually  and  a  piece  of  tissue 
paper  over  the  print  to  keep  it  from  smudging.   I  had  to 
stack  up  a  stack  of  prints,  fifty  or  a  hundred,  and  put 
them  in  this  press  and  press  them  down.   That  way  I  got  the 
paper  back  so  that  it  was  smooth.   [next  slide]   That  is 
the  device  that  I  used  to  put  my  chop  on  the  prints  that  I 
made.   I  think  that  I  was  the  first  one  to  use  a  chop,  and 
it  is  universally  used  by  printers  throughout  the  country 
now.   They  put  that  embossing  on  and  that  identifies  the 
printer,  and  that's  the  printer's  mark.   [next  slide] 

This  is  a  man  by  the  name  of  [Theodore]  Van  Soelen, 
who  was  the  sheriff  of  a  town  in  New  Mexico.   He  came  over 
to  Los  Angeles  and  worked  with  me,  and  I  made  about  a  dozen 


prints  with  him.   I  had  people  come  from  all  over  the 
country  to  work  with  me.   [next  slide]   That  is  Phil  Dike, 
who  is  one  of  my  artists.   I  made  quite  a  number  of  prints 
with  Dike.   [next  slide]   This  is  Eugene  Berman,  who  I 
worked  with,  and  he  is  working  on  the  stone  there.   [next 
slide]   This  is  Clinton  Adams  and  myself.   He  is  examining 
a  print  that  I've  pulled  for  him.   [next  slide]   This  is 
Joe  [Joseph]  Mugnaini  and  myself.   I  did  quite  a  number  of 
prints  and  a  portfolio  with  Joe  Mugnaini.   He  was  one  of  my 
finer  printers.   [next  slide]   This  is  a  class  in 
lithography.   I'm  explaining  to  them  about  the  prints  and 
how  to  put  the  work  on  the  stone. 
RATNER:   Where  was  that  at? 

KISTLER:   Well,  that  was  at  Third  [Street]  and-- 
RATNER:   Carondelet  [Street]? 
KISTLER:   Carondelet,  yes. 
RATNER:   At  your  own  place. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   And  this  is  a  demonstration  that  I  had  up 
in  Sacramento  at  the  state  fair.   The  Southern  Pacific 
Company  shipped  my  press  up  to  the  state  fair  and  a  number 
of  my  stones,  and  I  worked  before  the  public  there  and 
explained  to  them--  I'm  rolling  up  stone  there,  and  there 
is  an  artist  in  the  background  there  and  one  over  at  the 
right  that  is  working  on  the  stone.   [next  slide] 

That's  Jean  Chariot  examining  a  print  that  I  pulled 


for  him.   So  that  gives  you  an  idea  of  the  work  that  I  was 


RATNER:   Great. 

KISTLER:   I  haven't  explained  it  as  well  as  I  should. 

RATNER:   It  was  very  interesting.   So  now  we're  going  to  go 

on  to  some  of  the  actual  lithographs? 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   Okay.   [tape  recorder  off]   Okay,  so  we're 

beginning  here  with  the  lithographs  printed  by  Lynton 

Kistler . 

KISTLER:   Right.   I've  got  to  recover  that  last  one.   I 

didn't--  [clicks  through  slides]   There  we  are.   That's  the 

first  print  that  I  ever  made.   It's  Jean  Chariot.   It's  two 

colors,  and  it  was  about  22"  X  30"  in  size. 

RATNER:   And  that's  Woman  with  Child  on  Back? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  Woman  with  Child  on  Back.   [next  slide] 

This  is  a  four-color  print  that  I  did  with  Jean  Chariot, 

and  it  is  called  Sunday  Dress.   It  is  one  of  the  first 

prints  that  I  ever  made  in  color.   It  came  out  very  well 

and  was  very  popular.   I  think  there  were  about  five  or  six 

colors  in  that.   [next  slide]   That  is  one  of  the  best 

prints  that  I  made  of  his  in  black  and  white.   It's  called 

The  Tortilla  Lesson.   I  have  it,  a  copy  of  it,  in  the  front 

room  there.   It  is  very  fine  because  of  the  delicate 

drawing  that  there  is  in  the  drawing  against  an  absolutely 


solid  black,  one  of  the  features  of  lithography  that  is  so 
valuable.   You  can  get  so  many  shades  of  color  in  one 
printing.   A  lot  of  very  delicate  work  there  that  has  to  be 
held  and  one  of  the  nicest  prints  I  ever  made  in  black  and 
white.   [next  slide]   That  is  a  Mexican  dancer,  and  it's  a 
little  print  from  the  pamphlet  that  we  got  out  for  the 
first  Picture  Book,  the  printing  of  the  first  Picture 
Book.   That  was  printed  on  my  machine.   It  was  drawn  on 
zinc  plates.   It  had  six  colors  in  it,  I  believe.   Malinche 
is  what  that  one's  called.   [next  slide]   That  is  Indian 
Man  and  is  another  Chariot.   [next  slide]   This  is  one  of 
the  things  he  made  after  he  went  to  Hawaii,  and  it's 

RATNER:   Hawaiian  Drummer  it  says  right  on  there. 
KISTLER:   Yes,  Hawaiian  Drummer.   And  it  was  rather  a  large 
print.   It  was  on  a  15"  X  20"  stone,  and  the  print  was,  oh, 
about  14"  X  18"  in  size,  approximately.   [next  slide]   That 
is  one  of  the  first  color  prints  that  I  made.   It  was  in 
four  colors,  and  that  is  called  Pilgrims.   [next  slide] 
Wherever  Jean  Chariot  went  he  was  very  much  interested  in 
the  primitive  peoples,  so  when  he  went  through  the  Indian 
country,  why,  he  made  quite  a  few  things  that  had  American 
Indians  as  the  subject,  and  these  are  our  Indian  dancers, 
[next  slide] 

Those  prints  that  you  see  up  above  there,  they  are 


printed  on  a  machine.   The  plates  were  hand  drawn,  and  the 
printing  was  directly  from  the  plates  themselves.   They 
were  printed  by  the  offset  process.   The  advantage  in  the 
offset  is  that  because  there  is  a  double  impression--  You 
print  from  the  plate  itself  to  a  rubber  blanket,  and  then 
you  transfer  it  from  the  rubber  blanket  to  the  paper.   Then 
that  way,  the  artist  can  work  the  right  way  on  the  plate, 
and  it  is  quite  an  advantage.   I  experimented  with  that 
method  of  printing  and  did  quite  a  number  of  prints  by  the 
offset  method.   When  I  first  started  printing,  for  the 
first  few  years,  we  had  thin-rolled  zinc,  which  we  put  onto 
the  press  and  wrapped  around  a  cylinder,  and  they  were  very 
receptive  to  the  artists'  drawings.   They  were  very  good  to 
work  with.   They  seemed  to  have  an  affinity  for  the  ink, 
and  for  that  reason  they  were  very  good  to  use.   Later,  the 
commercial  industry  disposed  of  the  zinc  plates  because-- 
They  quit  using  them  because  they  were  difficult  to  print 
from.   You  had  to  be  very  careful  in  working  with  them. 
They  started  using  aluminum  plates.   The  aluminum  plates 
ran  much  cleaner  without  so  much  trouble  in  keeping  them 
from  scumming  and  keeping  them  from  filling  in.   You  had  to 
have  a  very  good  pressman  to  print  by  this  [the  zinc  plate] 

RATNER:   So  this  was  called  Mock  Battle?   How  many  colors 
was  this,  do  you  think? 


KISTLER:   That  was  four  colors,  four  colors  on  that. 
That's  Mock  Battle.   [next  slide]   And  that's  Mock 
Victory.   They  were  a  pair,  and  they  were  both  printed  from 
the  same  plate.   That  is,  the  press  was  large  enough  so  we 
could  draw  both  images  on  the  plate  and  then  print  them 
both  at  the  same  time.   [next  slide]   That  is  a  stone 
print,  and  it's  Hawaiian  Drummer. 

RATNER:   That's  different  from  the  other  Hawaiian  Drummer 
we  saw. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  he  did  quite  a  number  of  different  prints. 
RATNER:   Was  that  later  or  earlier  than  the  first  one? 
KISTLER:   That  was  later  than  the  first  one.   The  first  one 
that  I  showed  you  was  made  from  stone.   I  think  that  this 
one  was  on  a  zinc  plate.   I  had  quite  a  few  zinc  plates 
left,  and  I  used  those  when  I  first  started  making  prints 
by  the  offset  method.   I  don't  think  that  Jean  was  with  me 
when--  He  was  in  Hawaii.   I  sent  the  plates  to  him  and  he 
made  the  drawing  and  he  sent  the  color  that  he  wanted  back 
to  me,  or  the  sample  of  the  color,  and  I  matched  it  and  I 
printed  from  a  metal  plate.   I  think  that  one  was  printed 
from  a  zinc  plate.   I  liked  them  to  work  on  those  because 
they  were  so  sensitive.   But  quite  a  number  of  the  prints 
that  I  made  were  made  on  aluminum  plates,  and  they  were 
harder  to  get  a  good  impression  from.   [next  slide] 

That  is  a  proof  for  a  cover  for  a  slip-case;  I  think 


^^'s  °"  Picture  Book  [No.]  II.   That  is  made  by  stomping 
out  the  edges  all  around  the  gum  arabic,  and  then  the 
drawing  was  made  with  a  brush.   The  drawing  was  made  with 
an  etch.   Then  the  gum  arabic  was  dried,  and  I  took  some 
ink  and  mixed  some  ink  with  asphaltum  and  rubbed  that  over 
the  whole  surface  of  the  plate  and  smoothed  it  down  and 
then  put  it  in  the  sink  and  washed  it.   And  wherever  the 
artist  had  drawn  with  the  gum  arabic,  the  plate  was 
cleaned,  and  you  have  that  reverse  image  coming  through, 
[next  slide] 

That  is  a  two-color  aluminum  plate.   Jean  was  on  a 
trip  to  Venezuela  at  the  time,  and  I  sent  the  plates  down 
to  him  in  Venezuela.   I  sent  him  two  plates,  one  for  the 
blue  and  the  other  for  the  orange,  and  he  made  a  tracing  on 
the  plate  and--  He  drew  that  and  made  his  drawing  to  that 
tracing.   The  tracing  was  the  same  on  both  plates,  of 
course,  so  that  the  drawing  was  in  register.   It  was  a  very 
difficult  thing  to  print,  because  the  plates  were  in 
transit  about  two  weeks  going  and  coming,  and-- 


MARCH  21,  1989 

RATNER:   Okay,  we  were  talking  about  how  long  this  print  by 
Chariot,  then  in  Venezuela,  was  in  transit,  which  made  it 
more  difficult  to  print.   I  think  we  talked  about  that  a 
little  another  time  too. 
KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   It's  interesting  to  see  which  print  it  is.   What 
is  this  called? 

KISTLER:   [The  Little]  Seamstress.   These  plates  were  of 
aluminum,  and  the  tropical  weather  down  in  Venezuela  as 
well  as  the  shipping,  being  in  shipment  for  over  a  month, 
made  them  very  difficult  to  print.   They  were  not  in  very 
good  condition,  and  I  had  a  very  hard  time  printing  them, 
[next  slide]   They  were  printed  offset.   This  is  a  series 
of  five  prints  [Kei  Viti  prints].   It's  the  last 
lithographs  that  Jean  Chariot  made,  and  they  were  in 
1978.   [next  slide] 

That's  a  kava  ceremony.   That's  the  first  print  in  the 
series.   There's  three  colors  in  that,  and  it's  printed 
offset  and  from  aluminum  plates.   [next  slide]   This  is 
number  two,  and  that  is  weaving  baskets.   There  are  three 
colors  in  that  as  well.   [next  slide]   This  is  music. 
Let's  see.   He  is  playing  on  that,  and  that's  an  ancient 
South  Pacific  method  of  playing  music,  bamboo  music.   Just 


how  it's  done  I  don't  know,  but  this  is  a  trip  that  Jean 
took  to  the  Fiji  Islands,  prints  of  Fiji.   [next  slide] 
That's  bamboo  music  again.   That's  just  a  single  piece  of 
bamboo,  and  he's  making  music  with  it.   It  was  two 
colors.   [next  slide]   And  this  is  the  fifth  one.   It's  not 
a  reproduction,  but  it's  the  same  design  as  this  painting 
that  I  have  here,  and  there's  two  colors  in  that.   There 
are  just  five  prints  in  the  series.   [next  slide] 

This  is  a  young  chap  that  I  worked  with,  and  he  was  a 
paraplegic.   He  could  do  nothing  with  his  hands,  and  he  did 
all  of  his  work  on  the  plates  with  a  crayon  that  was  held 
in  a  crayon  holder  that  was  long  enough  to  reach  the 
plate.   He  drew  this,  and  I  made  this  a  two-color 
lithograph.   He  got  it  in  register  and  everything,  in  spite 
of  the  fact  that  he  was  drawing  with  a  crayon  held  in  a 
holder  in  his  mouth.   He  was  very  persistent  in  doing  the 
work,  and  I  thought  it  was  very  remarkable  that  he  was  able 
to  do  anything  at  all.   To  attempt  a  color  print  with  his 
limitations  I  thought  was  really  a  very  persistent  and  very 
remarkable  thing.   There's  two  colors  on  that.   The  plates 
were  aluminum  plates,  and  they  were  printed  in  the  offset 
process.   [next  slide]   This  is  another  of  his  drawings. 
RATNER:   What  was  his  name? 

KISTLER:   Gee,  I'm  sorry,  these  names  escape  me.   I  knew 
them  all  very  well,  but  my  memory  is  not  as  good  as  it 


should  be.   [next  slide]   That  is  a  stone  print  by 

Henrietta  Shore.   That's  one  of  the  nicest  prints  that  I 

ever  did.   It  was  a  very  coarse-grained  stone,  and  it 

worked  out  beautifully. 

RATNER:   It's  really  nice.   What's  the  title  of  that,  do 

you  know? 

KISTLER:   It's  Waterlily.   [next  slide]   This  is  Eugene 

Herman,  and  that's  Pisan  Fantasy.   That's  on  stone.   [next 

slide]   That's  Appian  Way. 

RATNER:   Also  by  Herman? 

KISTLER:   Also  by  Herman,  and  it's  on  stone.   [next 

slide]   This  is  one  of  the  most  difficult  prints  that  I 

have  ever  worked  on.   It's  four  colors  by  Eugene  Herman, 

and  it ' s  Nocturnal  Cathedral . 

RATNER:   Is  this  the  one  that  he  wrote  "Hravo"  on  that  you 

were  telling  me  about  last  week? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  this  is  the  one  that--  He  left  for  New  York, 

and  he  was  very  much  disgusted  with  the  print.   I  sent  the 

proof  to  him  in  New  York,  and  he  turned  it  down  completely. 

But  he  marked  it  all  up.   Hardly  anyplace  that  he  didn't 

want  "A  little  darker  here"  or  "A  little  lighter  here"  and 

"Take  this  out  all  together."   I  worked  over  that  whole 

print  and  sent  him  this  proof  of  it,  and  he  was  very  happy 

with  it  and  sent  me  a  copy.   He  marked  "Bravo"  on  it  and 

sent  it  back,  and  I  was  very  pleased.   That's  in  the 


Smithsonian  [Institution]  now.   [next  slide]   That  is 
another  Herman  print,  and  the  distance  that  he  has  achieved 
in  there,  by  his  drawing,  has  always  amazed  me.   You  can 
see  right  down  through  the  canal  there.   That  is  called 
Verona .   I  was  in  Verona,  and  I  didn't  see  anything  that 
looked  remotely  like  that.   [laughter]   [next  slide]   This 
is  a  print  that  I  did  with  [Stanton]  Macdonald-Wright .   It 
was  one  of  those  problem  prints.   There's  eleven  colors  on 
that,  and  I  had  a  terrible  time  with  it.   He  was  ill  at  the 
time  and  lived  way  up  the  coast  in  Malibu,  and  I  had  to 
take  proofs  of  this  print  to  him  on  every  one  of  the 
colors,  all  of  the  eleven  colors.   It  made  a  lot  of  running 
back  and  forth.   He  was  not  an  easy  man  to  work  with, 
although  I  could  tell  by  looking  at  his  drawings  very  often 
that  he  had  not  put  enough  work  on  them  to  reflect  what  he 
wanted  to  get  out  of  the  print.   I  had  to  print  it  anyway 
and  take  these  proofs  down  that  I  knew  were  not  suitable, 
and  it  made  an  awful  lot  of  running  around.   There  were 
eleven  colors  on  it  by  the  time  that  I  made  about  twenty- 
two  to  twenty-five  trips  down  to  Malibu.   But  I  felt  as 
though  the  print  was  important  enough  to  do  the  work  on  it. 
RATNER:   It's  called  Gershwin's  Music  or  something  like 

KISTLER:   That's  called  Gershwin's  Music. 
RATNER:   Okay. 


KISTLER:   This  is  one  of  Joe  Mugnaini ' s  prints.   I  have 

that  now,  and  I'm  having  it  framed  and  I'm  going  to  put  it 

on  my  walls.   Joe  had  tremendous  imagination--has,  I  should 

say,  has  a  tremendous  imagination--and  he  was  a  delightful 

man  to  work  with.   Everything  that  he  brought  in  had  a  new 

concept  to  it.   I  think  that  the  imagination  that  is  shown 

there  is  really  remarkable.   I'm  very  fond  of  that. 

RATNER:   What's  it  called? 

KISTLER:   Balloon  Ascension.   [next  slide]   And  that  is 

called  Carnival. 

RATNER:   Also  by  Mugnaini? 

KISTLER:   Also  by  Mugnaini.   Another  example  of  his  very 

vivid  imagination.   [next  slide]   That  is  called  Flores, 

and  it  is  a  piece  that  I  sent  out  as  an  advertisement. 

It's  drawn  directly  on  the  plates  and  printed  from  the 

plates  on  an  offset  press,  and  it  is  four  colors.   It  was 

one  of  those  things  that  I'm  very  fond  of. 

RATNER:   Is  that  a  Chariot  print? 

KISTLER:   No,  that's  a  Joe  Mugnaini  print. 

RATNER:   Oh,  also? 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   It  looks  a  lot  different  than  the  other  ones. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  it  is.   I  think  I  printed  about  525.   Yes, 

525  is  the  edition  on  that.   They  were  printed  on  the 

offset  press,  directly  from  the  plates,  and  it  was  my 


Christmas  card.   Its  size  is  about  16"  X  20".   It's  a  good- 
sized  print.   [next  slide]   This  is  a  portfolio  of 
Mugnaini's,  and  it's  called  Ten  Views  of  the  Moon.   It  was 
done  in  collaboration  with  Ray  Bradbury.   Ray  Bradbury  and 
Joe  Mugnaini  consulted  together,  and  the  prints  that  we 
have  here  are  an  outcome  of  these  conversations  that  the 
two  men  had  together.   The  prints  are  signed  by  both 
Mugnaini  and  Bradbury,  Ray  Bradbury.   [next  slide]   That 
is--  Can  you  see  that? 

RATNER:   I  can't  read  that  line.   Let  me  see.   Let's  see. 
April  Witch. 

KISTLER:   April  Witch,  yes,  that's  right.   That's  a  four- 
color  print.   [next  slide]   And  that  is-- 
RATNER:   Robot  World  this  one's  called. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  Robot  World.   There's  four  colors  in  that, 
and  it  is  a  protest  print.   Really,  there's  quite  a  bit  of 
protest  in  that  print  if  you  follow  the  symbology  there, 
[next  slide]   That  is  A  Tower  on  Mars. 
RATNER:   You  have  that  out  in  the  other  room,  right? 
KISTLER:   Yes.   [next  slide]   And  this  is  The  Hound.   [next 
slide]   That  is  Halloween.   [next  slide] 
RATNER:   I  can't  read  the  writing  on  this  one.   Oh,  The 
Leviathan,  is  that  what  it  is? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   [next  slide]   That  is  A  Town  on  Mars, 
[next  slide]   And  that  one — 


RATNER:   The  Visitor. 

KISTLER:   The  Visitor.   [next  slide]   That  is  A  Green 

Morning .   [next  slide]   And  that's  The  Dragon,  which  has  an 

awful  lot  of  imagination  in  it.   [next  slide]   This  is  a-- 

I  can't  recall  this  man's  name.   I'm  sorry.   [next  slide] 

They're  just  sketches,  and  I've  forgotten  the  names  of 


RATNER:   Well,  let  me  see  if  I  can  see  it  on--  Is  it 


KISTLER:   Nutting,  Myron  Nutting,  yes.   He  was  a  teacher 

and,  I  think,  a  superb  draftsman.   [next  slide]   This  is  my 

friend  Jan  Stussy.   He  was  one  of  the  students  at  UCLA,  and 

his  things  were  very  far  out  all  the  way  through.   That's 

Unicyclist .   [next  slide]   And  that's  a  landscape.   [next 

slide]   In  order  to  get  the  ink  set  and  the  image  in  the 

right  position  on  the  paper,  it  was  necessary  sometimes  to 

run,  oh,  as  many  as  fifty  to  a  hundred  sheets  through  the 

offset  press.   I  had  a  stack  of  paper  that  was  about  three 

feet  high  of  these  waste  sheets.   They  were  run  through 

again  and  again,  sometimes  as  high  as  maybe  eight  or  ten 

times.   Consequently,  over  this  there  were  a  lot  of 

abstract  designs  that  just  originated  themselves. 

RATNER:   Oh,  really?   [laughter] 

KISTLER:   The  artists  became  very  intrigued  with  them, 

particularly  Jan  Stussy.   This  is  one  that  he  made  a  silk 


screen  and  printed  that  over  that  design,  and  this  is  the 
abstract  that  evolved  from  it. 
RATNER:   Oh,  that's  interesting. 

KISTLER:   Of  course,  they  were  unique  prints,  all  of  them, 
because  there  were  no  two  of  them  alike,  and  that  went  on 
and  on  in  the  plant.   [next  slide]   This  is  called  Wash 
Day.   It  was  by  Bill  [William]  Pajaud.   He  was  advertising 
manager  at  the--  Oh,  that  insurance  company  at  Adams 
[Boulevard]  and  Western  [Avenue]  [Golden  State  Mutual  Life 
Insurance  Company] .   Well,  anyway,  he  was  an  advertising 
manager.   I'm  very  fond  of  that.   I  think  that's  a  very 
good  character  sketch.   [next  slide]   This  is  another  one 
of  his,  and  that's  Chicken  Woman.   That's  four  colors  and 
that  is--  [next  slide]   This  is  another  man  that  I  had 
quite  a  difficult  time  with  in  printing.   He  was  at  Metro- 
Goldwyn-Mayer ,  and  he's  the  man  that  invented  the  method  of 
taking  the  picture  of  the  capitol-- 

RATNER:   Oh,  right,  you  told  me  that.   Warren  Newcombe,  is 
that  who  that--? 

KISTLER:   Warren  Newcombe,  yes.   They  photographed  the 
upper  part  first  and  then  built  a  scene  that  matched  right 
with  it.   The  lower  part  they  had  the  action  on.   They 
couldn't  tie  up  the  capitol  and  they  couldn't  build  a  set 
that  big,  so  they  built  a  construction  and  photographed  the 
upper  part  and  then  the  lower  part  later.   How  they  did 


that  I  don't  know.   But  he  was  so  important  to  Metro- 
Goldwyn  that  when  his  contract  expired,  why,  he  just  locked 
up  his  studio  and  left  and  didn't  tell  them  where  he  was 
going  or  anything,  and  he  was  gone  for  two  weeks.   They 
practically  shut  down  the  studio  for  that  length  of  time. 
So  they  got  busy  right  away,  and  he  got  his  contract. 
RATNER:   What  was  this  print  called? 

KISTLER:   That's  The  Corral.   [next  slide]   And  that's 
another  one  of  his,  Malibu  Mountains.   [next  slide]   That 
man —  I  don't  remember  his  name.   I've  got  it  someplace, 
but  I've  forgotten  what  it  is.   But  that's  a  proof  there. 
It's  not  a  signed  proof,  but  he  was  another  motion  picture 
director.   His  little  sketches  on  the  edge  of  the  stone 
there  where  he  tried  out  his  crayons  and  things,  I  thought 
it  was  kind  of  nice  to  keep  the  whole  thing. 

RATNER:   Right.   That  is  nice  to  be  able  to  see  that. 

KISTLER:   [next  slide]   I  can't--  That's  another  one  of 

his.   Maybe  his  name  is  on  that. 

RATNER:   Yeah,  it  looks  like  it  is.   Let  me  get  situated 

here.   Let's  see.   Herschel  Sanders? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   I'm  glad  that  I  discovered  that  name, 

Herschel  Sanders.   Let's  see,  do  I  have  a  slip  of  paper 

that  I  can  write  that  down  on? 

RATNER:   Well,  I'll  write  it  down  for  you.   I've  got  it 

right  here. 


KISTLER:   Yeah,  I've  got  it  listed  and  I  couldn't  think  of 

his  name,  and  so  I'm  glad  to  discover--  [next  slide]  This 

is  a  man  that  did  Two  Coins  in  a  Fountain.   You  know  that 

film?   It  was  very  popular  at  the  time.   The  remarkable 

thing  here  is  this  was  done  on  the  offset  press,  and  the 

plates  were  made  with  a  pen  that  fed  the  ink  down  to  the 

plate.   He  drew  these  without  a  design  or  anything.   This 

one  here,  the  black,  was  drawn  without  his  taking  his  pen 

off  of  the  plate.   The  other  one,  I  think  he  didn't  do  it 

that  way,  but  he  drew  several  and  he  never  took  his  pen 


RATNER:   What  was  his  name?   I  couldn't  see  up  there. 

KISTLER:   Hmm.   I  can't  recall  his  name  now. 

RATNER:   Okay.   [next  slide] 

KISTLER:   I'm  trying  to  think  of  it.   [Jean  Negulesco] 

Gee,  I'm  sorry  that-- 

RATNER:   It's  all  right.   It  will  come  to  you.   It's  fine. 

KISTLER:   --my  memory  is  so  bad  on  these  things.   I-- 

RATNER:   Your  memory  is  great.   I  can't  believe  you  can 

remember  all  of  the  titles. 

KISTLER:   You  should  have  interviewed  me  about  two  or  three 

years  ago.   I  was  really  sharp,  and  I  don't  seem  to 

remember--  This  is  called  House  on  Fire.   His  name  is 

Herbert  Ryman.   He  is  a  man  that  did  the  overall  designing 

for  all  four  of  the  Disneyland  parks. 


RATNER:   That's  right.   I  remember  you  were  telling  me  you 
went  to  his  funeral  a  few  weeks  ago,  right? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   He  died  just  about  a  month  ago,  and  I  went 
to  his  funeral.   It  was  quite  a  thing, 
RATNER:   Right,  I  remember  you  told  me  about  that. 
KISTLER:   But  this,  I  thought,  was  one  of  his  best 
lithographs.   It's  the  last  one  that  he  did.   He  was  very 
much  dissatisfied  with  it.   He  said  that  he  didn't  want  it 
printed  at  all,  but  I  pulled  two  prints.   I  have  one  of 
them,  which  I  have  at  the  framer's  now,  and  the  other  one 
was  sold  to  one  of  the  motion  picture  people.   I  don't  know 
who.   One  of  the  [Walt]  Disney  [Studio]  people,  I 
presume.   [next  slide]   That's  June  Wayne.   That's  Man  and 
Woman.   [next  slide]   That's  another  one  of  hers,  and  I 
don't  know  what  that  one  is  called.   Those  two  are  from 
stone.   I  don't  have  any  of  her  work  left.   And  that's  The 
Tunnel .   [next  slide]   I  don't  know  what  that  one  is 
called.   It's  another  one  of  June's.   [next  slide]   That's 
another  one  of  hers.   [next  slide]   That's  another  version 
of  The  Tunnel .   [next  slide]   I  taught  her  the  lithographic 
process,  and  I  worked  with  her  for  four  years.   She  was 
very  demanding  in  her  work.   She  was  very  imaginative.   Her 
concepts  were  very  good,  but  [next  slide]  I  did  an  awful 
lot  of  work  with  her.   I  worked  with  her  for  four  years  and 
taught  her  the  whole  process. 


This  is  John  Kelly,  and  that's  the  three-color 
lithograph  on  aluminum.   [next  slide]   That's  another  one 
of  his.   He  was  an  able  seaman  and  never  graduated  from 
high  school--or  any  school,  as  far  as  I  ever  knew--but  he 
was  at  sea  for  a  number  of  years  and  was  an  accomplished 
artist  and  made  a  complete  set  of  the  ships  that  came  over 
here  on  the  two  hundred  year  anniversary  of  the-- 
RATNER:   For  the  bicentennial. 

KISTLER:   Bicentennial  of  the  United  States.   They  sent 
ships  from  all  over  the  world,  and  he  drew  quite  a  number 
of  them.   And  I  made  lithographs  of  quite  a  number  of 
them.   [next  slide]   That's  another  one  of  his.   He  was 
interested  in  trains  as  well.   He  was  an  Englishman.   [next 
slide]   That's  another  one.   John  Kelly  was  his  name,  and 
that's  San  Francisco  Cable  Car.   Rather  peculiar 
construction  that  they  have  in  San  Francisco,  built  right 
up  to  the  edge  of  the  street.   [next  slide]   That  is  the 
winter  scene  by  John  Kelly  [Winter,  New  York] .   He  was  a 
very  good  artist.   [next  slide] 

That  is  Millard  Sheets.   [next  slide]   That's  another 
Millard  Sheets.   The  first  one  is  called  New  Arrivals,  and 
the  next  one--this  one  here--is  Horse  Frightened  by 
Lightning.   [next  slide]   This  is  Richard  Haines,  another 
one  of  my  very  fine  artists,  and  this  is  Pueblos  in  the 
Rain.   [next  slide]   This  is  Bus  Stop,  and  they're  both  on 


stone.   [clicks  through  slides]   This  is  Phil  Dike,  and 

this  is  Balboa  Harbor.   [next  slide]   And  this  is  Balboa 

again.   This  is  Phil  Dike,  another  one  of  his.   [next 

slide]   This  is  Marcia  Maris,  She  was  the  wife  of  Peter 

Morse,  who  is  an  expert  on  prints. 

RATNER:   Right. 

KISTLER:   Do  you  know  of  him? 

RATNER:   Well,  we  talked  about  him,  and  I  know  a  little  bit 

about  him,  too. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   [next  slide]   This  is  a  very  complicated 

thing.   This  is  four  colors  printed  from  a  single  plate. 

RATNER:   This  is  by  her  also? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  Marcia  Maris.   I  turned  those  around  each 

time,  and  there's  four  colors  over  the  four  printings:  red, 

yellow,  blue,  and  black. 

RATNER:   That's  interesting. 

KISTLER:   They  all  fit,  and  how  she  did  that  I  don't 

know.   It's  an  impossibility  as  far  as  I'm  concerned, 

because  every  one  of  those  had  to  fit  over  the  other. 

[next  slide]   This  is  another  thing  that  I  did  with  her, 

and  there's  twenty-eight  plates  on  that. 

RATNER:   What  was  that  called? 

KISTLER:   Rainbow  Castle  I  think  is  what  it  was  called. 

Those  are  all  little  spots  of  color,  and  they're  registered 

perfectly.   It's  a  method  of  registration  that  I  worked 


out.   The  way  that  she  did  that  was  to  make  an  overall 
drawing,  line  drawing,  of  the  whole  thing,  and  then  she 
colored  the  various  areas  with  twenty-eight  different 
colors  and  twenty-eight  printings  in  that.   White  lines  run 
between  each  one  of  the  little  dots  that  make  up  the 
picture  and  are  absolutely  in  register.   It's  a  wonderful 
piece  of  work  as  far  as  her  work  is  concerned.   The 
registration  method  that  I  worked  out  on  it  was  quite 
unique,  too--make  twenty-eight  plates  that  print  and 
register.   That's  twenty-eight  plates  printed  and 
registered.   [tape  recorder  off] 

Yes.   That's  the  only  lithograph  I  ever  did  with 
Lorser  Feitelson.   It's  a  very  fine  piece  of  drawing.   I 
put  in  about  ten  or  twelve  years  trying  to  get  him  to  do 
another  one,  but  he  never  would  do  it. 
RATNER:   It's  really  lovely. 
KISTLER:   Yeah,  it's  really  a  very  nice  thing. 


MARCH  21,  1989 

RATNER:   Okay,  so  we  just  flipped  the  tape,  and  we're 

continuing  on  looking  at  some  of  the  prints  that  you've 


KISTLER:   Yeah,  well,  this  is  just  a  bunch  of —  I've 

forgotten  this  man's  name.   I  did--  Well,  there  it  is 

there . 

RATNER:   Is  it  Noel  something  or--? 

KISTLER:   Noel  Quinn. 

RATNER:   Noel  Quinn. 

KISTLER:   Yeah,  I  did  a  series  of  racehorses  with  him,  and 

they  were  impressionistic.   I  thought  that  the  horsemen 

would  be  crazy  about  this  because  it  reflects  the  racing 

spirit  and  everything,  but  I  found  out  that  the  horsemen 

were  not  in  the  least  interested  in  the  spirit  of  the 

race.   The  thing  that  they  were  interested  in  were  the 

points  on  the  horses  and  things  like  that.   I  worked  with 

one  woman  that  was  up  on  the  various  aspects  of  the  horse, 

you  know.   I  did  some  lithographs  with  her  on  that,  and 

they  had  to  be  exactly  right  as  far  as  the  horse  was 

concerned.   And  they'd  just  go  for  those.   She  sold  quite  a 

number  of  the  things  that  I  printed.   [next  slide] 

This  is  Pablo  O'Higgins,  an  American  who  migrated  to 
Mexico  and  became  a  Mexican.   He  was  quite  a  character  and 


has  quite  a  display  in  the  museum  in  Mexico  City  of  his 

work.   [next  slide]   This  man  was  very  delightful  to  work 

with.   His  name  is-- 

RATNER:   Don  Freeman? 

KISTLER:   Don  Freeman,  yes.   He  had  a  drawing  in  the  New 

York  Times  for  something  in  the  theatrical  section  once  a 

week,  in  the  Sunday  edition,  for  about,  oh,  ten  or  maybe 

twenty  years.   A  very  competent  artist.   He  was  interested 

in  people. 

RATNER:   And  what  was  this  one  called? 

KISTLER:   That's  the — 

RATNER:   Plights  of  Stardom  it's  called. 

KISTLER:   Yeah,  Plights  of  Stardom.   That's  a  two-colored 

lithograph.   He  was  a  San  Diego  man  that  migrated  to  New 

York  and  really  made  a  name  for  himself.   He,  in 

collaboration  with  his  wife  [Lydia  Freeman],  who  lives  in 

Santa  Barbara  and  is  still  living,  wrote,  oh,  a  number  of 

children's  books.   [next  slide]   That's  the  sort  of  thing 

that  he  was  interested  in,  the  Man  with  Bird  on  His  Head. 

[next  slide]   This  is  one  of  the  few  lithographs  that-- 

What ' s  his  name?   He  did  The  Woodcutter. 

RATNER:   Paul  Landacre? 

KISTLER:   Paul  Landacre,  yes.   It's  a  beautiful  drawing, 

and  his  use  of  the  various  tones  that  are  possible  is 

outstanding  in  this.   He  wanted  to  do  more,  but  he  was 


cutting  woodblocks  and  he  became  a  very  fine  wood 
engraver.   I  encouraged  him  to  keep  on  with  his  woodblock 
work  and  abandon  lithography,  although  he  was  very  good  at 
it,  but  his  woodblocks  are  outstanding.   [next  slide]   This 
is  a  son  of  one  of  the  prominent  actresses.   She  was  a 
comedian.   I  can't  think  of  her  name.   Is  there--? 
RATNER:   No,  there's  nothing  on  there. 

KISTLER:   That's  not  signed.   I  can't  recall  that.   [next 
slide]   This  is  Peter  Hurd.   It's  called  Pioneers,  and  I 
printed  five  hundred  copies  of  that  by  hand  from  stone.   I 
did  just  this  one  lithograph  with  him.   [next  slide]   That 
man,  I  can't  recall  his  name  now  either.   I  think  it's 
signed  there.   But  he  was  interested  in  Indians  and  did 
quite  a  number  of  Indian  things.   Can  you  see  his  name 

RATNER:   Well,  it  wasn't  on  the  other  one.   Let's  see  if 
it's  on  this  one.   John--  Oh,  I  can't  read  his  last  name, 
[next  slide]   I  can't  tell  what  his  last  name  is. 
KISTLER:   This  is  the  son  of  a  man  that  did  all  of  those 
African  things,  books  on  Africa.   His  name  is  on  there. 
RATNER:   John  Coleman- - 

KISTLER:   Burroughs.   Yes,  Edgar  Rice  Burroughs  was  his 
father.   He  was  a  splendid  artist.   [next  slide]   That's 
another  man  that  was  very  prominent  in  Los  Angeles  here. 
RATNER:   Ejnar  Hansen. 


KISTLER:   Yeah,  Ejnar  Hansen.   He  had  this  plate,  and  he'd 
bring  it  in  to  me,  oh,  four  or  five  times  I  think.   He'd 
just  have  one  or  two  or  three  prints  pulled,  and  that's 
all.   But  he  kept  adding  to  it.   [next  slide]   This  is  Bob 
[Robert]  Majors,  who  was  a  very  fine  artist.   [clicks 
through  slides]   And  this  is  by  that  girl  there.   Geez,  I 
just  can't  seem  to  dredge  up  any  of  these  names.   But  look 
on  that-- 

RATNER:   Alice  Asmar? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  Alice  Asmar.   [next  slide]   Tyrus  Wong,  a 
Chinese  boy.   These  are  a  couple  of  horses  that  he  drew, 
[clicks  through  slides]   That's  one  of  the  finest  prints  I 
ever  pulled.   I  can't  think  of  his  name  right  now. 
Probably  it's  on  there. 

RATNER:   Very  faint.   Let  me  see  if  I  can  see  it.   I  can't 
tell.   It's  on  there  so  lightly  I  just  can't  tell. 
KISTLER:   [next  slide]   This  man  was  a  barkeeper  at  the 
Biltmore  Hotel  in  Los  Angeles.   His  things  were  all 
abstract.   This  is  an  unusual  print,  because  he  covered 
this  whole  area  that's  on  stone  with  tusche  and  then  he 
scraped  back  there.   And  he  had  these  kind  of  forms  in 
mind.   Is  that  signed  or  not? 

RATNER:   I  don't  see  it  on  there.   [next  slide] 
KISTLER:   This  is  a  San  Diego  man.   He  is  very  well 
known.   His  name  is  on  there. 


RATNER:   Everett  Jackson? 

KISTLER:   Everett  G.  Jackson,  yes.   [next  slide]   This  is  a 

Texas  gal  from  San  Antonio.   She  came  over  here  and  did 

quite  a  number  of  prints  with  me. 

RATNER:   Vera,  let's  see.  Vera —  I  can't  tell  what  her  last 

name  is.   [Vera  Wise] 

KISTLER:   [clicks  through  slides]   That  man,  he--  That's  a 

gold  dredger  on  the  Sacramento  River  [Gold  Dredger] .   He 

was  a  marvelous  artist,  but  he  ended  up  drawing  pictures  of 

Campbell's  Soup  cans.   With  that  talent--  Let's  see,  what 

was  his  name?   I  think  it's  on  there.   He  was  well  known. 

[Wayne  Thiebaud]   [next  slide]   This  man  was  a  very  good 


RATNER:   Oh,  this  is  Phil  Paradise. 

KISTLER:   Phil  Paradise,  that's  right.   [next  slide] 

That's  another  one  of  his.   Those  first  two  were  Maria  and 

Tomas,  and  I  don't  know  what  that  one  was  called.   [next 

slide]   This  is  Nicholai  Fechin.   I  did  one  print  with 

him.   He  was  really  a  very  good  artist,  but  he  didn't  like 

it,  because  I  was  printing  from  stone  at  that  time,  and  he 

objected  to  his  drawings  being  reversed.   They  didn't  print 

the  way  that  they  were  drawn,  and  I  don't  think  anybody 

could  tell  it-- 

RATNER:   Was  that  a  self-portrait? 

KISTLER:   No,  it's  not.   It's  just  a  Mexican--  But  he  did  a 


whole  portfolio  that  he  wouldn't  work  with  me  because  I 
wouldn't  reverse  his  work.   [next  slide]   Here's  Palmer 
Schoppe.   He  worked  with  me  as  an  assistant  for  a  while  and 
did  quite  a  number  of  things.   [next  slide]   This  is  a  San 
Diego  woman.   I  had  quite  a  few  people  come  up  from  San 

RATNER:   Yeah,  it  sounds  like  it.   [next  slide] 
KISTLER:   This  is  Beatrice  Wood.   She  had  these  screwy 
ideas.   She  called  this  one  Holiday.   [laughter]   It's  kind 
of  cute,  I  think.   [next  slide]   This  one  here,  I  think,  is 
her  impression  of  an  operation  [Operation] .   It's  quite 
graphic.   [next  slide]   This  is  Dan  Lutz.   That's  The 
Harpist.   I  did  a  number  of  lithographs  with  him.   He  was 
well  known  here.   [next  slide]   That  one  was  done  by  a 
woman  by  the  name  of  Muriel  Tyler,  and  it's  a  printing  of  I 
think  about  six  colors  by  stone  there.   That's  before  I  had 
worked  out  my  registry  thing.   You  can  see  the  registration 
marks  on  the  edge.   I  had  to  put  those  on  there  to  get  them 
in  the  right  place.   [clicks  through  slides] 

This  is  kind  of  interesting.   I'm  walking  down  Fifth 
Avenue  one  day  and  it  was  during  a  war,  and  I  saw  these 
pictures,  these  strange  horses.   I  said,  "Gee,  it  would 
sure  be  marvelous  if  I  could  get  that  man  to  do  some 
lithographs."   So  he  came  into  my  studio  one  day  after  I 
got  back  to  Los  Angeles  and  was  doing  lithographs  again. 


His  name  was  Florencio  Molino  Campos,  and  he's  one  of  the 
men  that--  [Juan]  Peron  told  him  to  get  out  of  Argentina  or 
he'd  have  him  shot.   So  he  came  out  here  and  he  went  to 
work.   He  made  calendars  for  about  four  or  five  years  for 
the  Moling  Plow  Company.   Walked  into  my  studio  one  day-- 
RATNER:   You  about  fell  over,  I  bet. 

KISTLER:   Yeah.   He  had  quite  a  bit  of  trouble  with  the 
medium,  but  I  think  that  we  did  capture  the  spirit  of  his 
work  pretty  well.   [next  slide]   The  first  one  is  Gaucho 
Rider  and  this  one  is  Gaucho  Bronco  Buster,  and  those  are 
four  color.   [next  slide]   This  is  Helen  Lundeberg.   She's 
the  wife  of-- 

RATNER:   Right,  Lorser  Feitelson. 

KISTLER:   They  were  both  lone  artists  as  far  as  lithographs 
were  concerned.   They  didn't  work  with  anybody  else,  but 
they  just  didn't  make  any  more  lithographs.   She  is  a  very 
well  known  artist.   [next  slide]   This  is  Arthur  Beaumont, 
and  he  was  lieutenant  commander  in  the  navy.   I  did  quite  a 
few  things  with  him.   This  is  Carmel  Mission.   He  was  a 
very  good  artist.   [next  slide]   That's  Conrad  Buff.   I  did 
a  couple  of  lithographs  with  him.   That's  American 
Pioneers.   [next  slide]   Mary  Finley  Fry,  she  did  quite  a 
number  of  Indian  things,  and  she  was  a  very  good 
lithographer.   I  did  quite  a  few  things  with  her.   [next 
slide]   That  is  Boulder  Dam  by  William  Woollett.   William 


Woollett,  Boulder  Dam.   [next  slide]   And  that  is  the  man 
who  was  in  the  picture  there  in  the  lithograph  studio,  a 
student  of  mine.   And  that  finishes  that  now. 
RATNER:   Great.   Well,  that  was  very  interesting.   A  very 
wide  variety  of  styles  and  subject  matter  also. 


MARCH  28,  1989 

RATNER:   I  thought  we'd  begin  today  by  talking  about  the 
increased  interest  in  lithography  beginning  in  the  1950s. 
During  the  years  of  your  involvement  with  the  field, 
interest  in  lithography  seemed  to  increase.   For  example, 
two  well-known  workshops  opened  in  New  York  in  the  19  50s. 
In  1955,  Contemporaries  Graphic  Art  Center  opened.   The 
precursor,  I  believe,  to  the  Pratt  Institute.   Then  in  1957 
Tatyana  Grossman  started  Universal  Limited  Art  Editions, 
which,  of  course,  is  still  going  strong.   But  perhaps  the 
greatest  evidence  of  the  increased  interest  locally  was  the 
opening  of  the  three  print  workshops  in  Los  Angeles  between 
1960  and  '70.   These,  of  course,  are  Tamarind  [Lithography 
Workshop],  which  opened  in  1960;  Gemini  G.E.L.,  which 
opened  in  1966,  by  Ken  [Kenneth]  Tyler,  a  Tamarind  alumnus; 
and  Cirrus,  which  opened  four  years  later  in  1970,  by  Jean 
Millant,  another  Tamarind  alum.   I  wondered  how  you  felt 
about  the  opening  of  Tamarind  and  its  program. 
KISTLER:   Well,  I  cooperated  with  them  in  the  establishment 
of  their  shop  as  much  as  possible.   It  was  somewhat  of  a 
departure  from  my  approach  to  it,  and  it  was  a  fresh 
approach.   My  approach  was  to  make  a  place  where  artists 
could  have  their  prints  pulled  by  competent  people.   I  also 
did  as  much  as  possible  to  promote  the  sale  of  the  prints, 


but  none  of  it  was  coordinated  enough  to  really  make  an 
impression.   June  [Wayne] 's  approach  was  to  get  more 
printers  into  the  field.   I  didn't  feel  as  though  it  was 
necessary  to  have  more  printers.   I  felt  as  though  it  was  a 
matter  of  getting  competent  artists  to  be  interested  in  the 
process.   But  she  felt  that  by  making  a  lot  of  printers, 
there  would  be  more  artists  interested  in  lithography.   It 
hasn't  proved  to  be  the  case  at  all.   There  has  been  a  loss 
of  interest  in  it.   And  until  the  artist's  work  can  be 
presented  to  the  public  in  such  a  way  that  they  will 
appreciate  the  beauty  of  lithography  and  the  fact  that  they 
can  own  the  work  of  important  artists--  The  printers  will 
develop  themselves,  and  there  will  be  more  printers  to  come 
into  the  work.   I  would  have  trained  another  man  to  work 
with  me  if  there  had  been  enough  work  available  and  I  had 
had  enough  cooperation. 

I  was  working  on  to  get  the  people  who  were  competent 
to  do  the  work  and  getting  them  interested  in  the  method 
and  in  the  advisability,  the  fact  that  they  could 
distribute  their  work  on  a  broader  field,  and  it  would  make 
more  work  for  the  artist  if  I  could  get  it  started.   But  I 
was  always  in  competition  with  what  was  regarded  as  more 
desirable  work,  like  watercolors  and  oils.   And  I  thought 
that  the  lithographs  would  lead  to  the  interest  in  some  of 
the  other  processes.   In  working  that  way,  I  found  that  I 


could  make  work  that  was  just  as  interesting  as  paintings 
themselves.   But  it  has  never  been  exploited  and  is  still 
open,  I  think,  for  exploitation.   The  idea  that  I  had  of 
getting  people  interested  in  art,  in  good  work  and 
important  people  in  the  art  field  through  something  that 
they  could  afford  to  start  out  with--  It  should  appeal  to 
younger  people  who  desire  good  work,  but  they  haven't 
reached  the  point  where  they  can  avail  themselves  of  the 
finer  work.   The  things  that  I  have  here  are  satisfying  to 
me  like  a  very  fine  painting.   I  mean,  I  have  work  of 
important  people  here  that  has  relatively  small  cost  to 
me.   I  think  that  that  is  the  way  to  give  people  that  are 
just  starting  out  life  an  opportunity  to  have  fine  artwork 
earlier  in  life.   That  was  the  way  that  I  looked  at  it.   It 
wasn't  so  much  a  matter  of  having  somebody  who  could  make 
the  prints  and  do  printing  from  stone;  it  was  a  question  of 
getting  the  artists  that  were  important  and  making  their 
work  available  to  people  that  could  afford  it.   It  broadens 
the  field  of  art.   Later  on,  when  they  get  into  the  money, 
why,  they  can  spend  $50,000  for  a  painting.   But  I  felt 
that  by  making  these  things  available  at  a  nominal  price, 
it  would  give  the  artist  a  broader  field  and  it  would  make 
more  work  for  the  artist. 

I  still  think  that  if  somebody  would  take  up  this 
method  right  today  and  pursue  the  matter  vigorously  that  it 


could  be  as  important  as  many  of  the  other  interests  that 
people  have  in  collecting.   My  friend  Merle  Armitage  was 
not  a  rich  man,  and  he  could  never  afford  the  more 
expensive  things,  but  he  did  have  the  work  of  very 
important  people  that  he  bought  for  a  reasonable  price. 
Like  Dame--  Oh,  what's  her  name?   That  English  artist. 
[Laura  Knight]   Her  work  was  very  desirable,  but  my  friend 
Armitage  couldn't  afford  to  buy  a  painting  of  hers.   But  he 
could  afford  that  and  another  one.   He  gave  that  to  me. 
And  here's  a  Rockwell  Kent,  who  was  a  very  desirable 
artist.   His  work  was  very  desirable.   For  a  few  dollars, 
maybe  $25,  $50,  why,  Armitage  could  afford  to  pay  that  much 
and  he  had  something  of  value  of  his  work.   And  it's  an 
original.   It's  not  a  reproduction.   He  really  got  me 
interested  in  the  production  of  prints,  and  it  would  take  a 
man  like  him  to  exploit  this  work.   But  it  never  occurred 
to  me  to  put  him  at  that,  because,  at  the  time,  he  was 
manager  of  the  Los  Angeles  Grand  Opera  Company,  so  he 
couldn't  give  an  awful  lot  of  time  to  it.   But  he  had  a 
collection  of,  oh,  maybe  a  hundred  or  two  hundred  prints 
that  he  had  bought . 

I  was  interested  in  getting  more  people  interested  in 
collecting  from  that  standpoint.   It  would  sharpen  their 
critical  sense  of  art  by  owning  these  things.   So  when  they 
got  enough  money  that  they  could  afford  the  paintings  and 


things  like  that,  why,  they  would  have  the  experience  at  a 
younger  age  that  would  make  more  art  collectors  and  broaden 
the  field  for  the  artists.   I  think  it  is  an  important 
thing  that  should  be  done  right  now.   I  would  like  to  see 
somebody  take  it  up.   I  can't  do  it  now,  as  I'm  just  too 
far  along,  but  it  could  be  done.   There  could  be--  Well, 
some  of  these  printers  that  are  working  today--  I  guess 
Cirrus  is  still  going,  and  some  of  these  others.   Another 
man  that  has  come  here  from  New  Mexico  from  the  Tamarind 
Institute  [University  of  New  Mexico]  is  Toby  Michel,  and  I 
think  that  he  is  probably  one  of  the  most  competent 
printers  that  I  know  of. 

RATNER:   Getting  back  to  Tamarind  [Lithography  Workshop]  a 
minute,  I  did  read  somewhere,  and  I  didn't  know  if  it  was 
true  or  not,  that  at  one  point  you  were  asked  to  be  the 
head  printer  at  Tamarind. 
KISTLER:   That's  right. 
RATNER:   What  happened  with  that? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  had  established  myself  and  I  had 
commitments  that  I  had  made.   I  had  made  commitments  in 
commercial  work.   I  had  to  do  something  to  make  a  living. 
I  wasn't  making  enough  money  out  of  it,  and  I  had  to  get 
the  base  for  working,  so  I  went  into  commercial  work.   It 
was  fortunate  that  I  did.   Otherwise,  I  don't  know  where  I 
would  have  come  out. 


RATNER:   So  when  Tamarind  got  started,  I  think  I  also  read 

that  you  sold  some  of  your  stone  presses  or  your  stones  to 

June  Wayne? 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  sold  most  of  my  equipment  to  Tamarind,   I 

sold  a  couple  of  presses  to  them,  I  think,  and  my  stones 

and  some  things  that  I  had. 

RATNER:   Then  later,  after  Tamarind  moved  to  Albuquerque, 

as  you  just  mentioned  a  little  bit  ago,  I  saw  in  some  of 

the  papers  at  the  [William  Andrews]  Clark  [Memorial] 

Library  that  you  had  a  subscription  to  their  fax  sheets, 

you  received  their  press  releases,  and  you  began,  I  think 

about  1975,  getting  copies  of  The  Tamarind  Technical 

Papers.   Then  Clinton  Adams,  who  was  running  it  at  that 

point,  invited  you  to  submit  a  manuscript. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   Can  you  tell  me  about  that? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  never  did  anything  with  it. 

RATNER:   Oh,  you  didn't? 

KISTLER:   No,  I  was  too  involved.   I  hope  to  be  able  to 

submit  some  papers  now,  starting  with  Ryman,  Herbert 

Ryman.   I  was  about  to  call  his  sister,  who  has  some 

essential  information  and  dates  and  things  like  that.   I'm 

going  to  get  in  touch  with  her,  and  I'm  going  to  do  a  paper 

on  his  lithographs.   I'm  starting  to  work  on  it  now. 

RATNER:   I  think,  though,  that  you  did  submit  something-- 


maybe  it  was  just  a  small  article — called  "Correcting  or 

Changing  Lithographic  Drawings"  that  was  printed  in  those 

papers  in  1979. 

KISTLER:   Yeah. 

RATNER:   That  was  a  smaller  article,  I  guess? 

KISTLER:   Yes.   I  don't  remember  much  about  it,  but  I 

presume  I  did. 

RATNER:   So  then  when  Gemini  opened  in  '56,  how  did  you 

feel  about  that  program? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  don't  know.   They  were  just  another  group 

in  the  field.   I  didn't  have  much  contact  with  them.   I  was 

so  busy  in  my  own  shop  that  I  couldn't  get  around  to 

theirs,  and  I  guess  they  were  so  busy  that  they  couldn't 

get  around  to  mine. 

RATNER:   And  how  about  Cirrus,  which  focuses  primarily  on 

Southern  California  artists? 

KISTLER:   Well,  they  were  just  another  competitor  in  the 

field.   I  didn't  have  any  contact  with  them  much. 

RATNER:   So  there  evidently  was  some  increased  interest,  or 

there  wouldn't  have  been  a  need  to  open  those  shops. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  but  that  was  the  later  things.   I  was  in  the 

field  back  in  1932. 

RATNER:   Right.   You  paved  the  way. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   The  only  competition  that  I  had  at  that 

time  was  the  Works  Progress  [Administration] .   They 


established  a  lithograph  shop.   There  were  a  few  artists, 

but  they  just  took  anybody  that  came  along- -as  I  did, 

too.   They  didn't  concentrate  on  trying  to  get  good  men  in 

the  field  to  work  for  them.   They  just  tried  to  develop  the 

artists  into  lithography  that  were  on  the  Work  Projects. 

They  were  on  the  Work  Projects  because  they  didn't  have 

sufficient  income  from  their  work  to  sustain  them.   It  was 

sort  of  a  charity  situation. 

RATNER:   Okay,  then  in  1970,  after  you  had  been  in  the 

field  for  a  very  long  time  and  had  been  in  a  variety  of 

locations,  you  moved  your  plant,  once  again,  to  970  Menlo 

Avenue.   What  prompted  that  move?   I  guess  you  had  been  at 

Temple  [Street]  before  that. 

KISTLER:   Well,  970  was  my  home.   That  was  an  apartment 

that  I  lived  in.   I  think  that  I  had  a  plant  at  that  time 

at  Washington  [Boulevard]  and  Normandie  [Avenue] . 

RATNER:   Okay.   I  must  have  misunderstood  that.   So  what 

prompted  the  move  from  Temple  Street  to  this  next  location 

at  Washington  and  Normandie? 

KISTLER:   From  Temple  Street?   Well,  I  was  doing  so  well 

with  my  commercial  work  that  I  had  to  have  larger 

facilities,  and  I  just  expanded  my  business,  that's  all. 

RATNER:   So  it  was  a  bigger  space. 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   Well,  in  a  letter  of  about  that  time  to  Jean 


Chariot,  you  say--I'm  quoting  here--"The  print  business  is 

good  and  getting  better  all  the  time.   I  have  worked  in 

offset  rather  than  stone  for  a  long  time.   I  have  had  quite 

a  time  getting  my  work  accepted,  but  the  turn  has  now 

come.   After  much  experimentation,  I  believe  I  have 

achieved  quality  in  my  printing  equal  to  that  of  handwork 

on  stone."   Then  that's  the  end  of  the  quote.   What  do  you 

feel  changed  the  tide  of  opinion? 

KISTLER:   Why,  I  couldn't  tell  you  what  it  was. 

RATNER:   You're  just  glad  it  happened. 

KISTLER:   Well,  yes.   I  think  somebody  came  along  and 

offered  me  enough  money  that  I  was  justified  in  getting  out 

of  the  business.   I  was  getting  along  pretty  well  in  years 

at  that  time.   In  1970  I  was  seventy  years  old. 

RATNER:   Well,  so  when  you  said  the  print  business  was  good 

and  getting  better  all  the  time,  were  you  speaking  of  the 

commercial  end  of  it  or  the  art  end  of  it? 

KISTLER:   I  don't  know  what  prompted  me  to  say  that.   It 

was  just  enthusiasm  that-- 

RATNER:   Because  you  say  in  this  letter  to  Chariot  for 

November  1970,  "I'm  sure  you  didn't  realize  all  of  my  work 

is  now  done  on  offset,  eliminating  the  need  for  reversing 

the  image.   New  materials,  inks,  and  lacquers  now  make 

possible  this  way  of  working  in  lithography  more  responsive 

to  the  artist's  talents  and  removing  many  of  the 


difficulties. " 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   So  you  were--  I  know,  as  we've  talked,  you  were 

still  printing  for  Chariot  at  that  time  and  for  Millard 

Sheets.   How  often  were  you  working  with  other  artists 

during  the  seventies? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  was  also  working  with  Joe  [Joseph] 


LELAH  KISTLER:   Well,  you  were  past  seventy  in  1970. 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  meant  in  the  seventies.   I  was,  yes, 

getting  along  pretty  well  in  years,  and  I  wanted  to--  I 

felt  as  though  I  had  done  an  awful  lot  of  work  and  I  was 

tired.   [laughter] 

RATNER:   So  were  you  printing  with  any  other  artists 

besides  Mugnaini,  Sheets,  and  Chariot  at  that  point? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  did  some  work  with  Millard  Sheets  and 

with--  Yes,  there  were  several  artists  who  came  to  me  that 

I  worked  with  at  that  time.   I  can't  remember  the  names  of 

all  of  them. 

RATNER:   But  you  focused  primarily  on  commercial  work. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  I  had  to  have  an  income.   Then  there's  an 

outfit  that  came  along  and  offered  me  enough  money  to  take 

over  my  commercial  business,  and  I  thought,  "Well,  gee, 

there's  no  use  fighting  this  any  longer,"  because  the 

printing  business  is  a  very  demanding  business.   You've  got 


to  be  at  it--  Or  you  did  at  that  time  have  to  keep  your 
attention  on  your  business  very  actively  to  make  a 
success.   I  had  a  successful  business,  and  there's  an 
outfit  came  along  and  offered  me  a  good  price  for  my 
shop.   So  I  sold  it. 

RATNER:   That  was  in  1976,  I  think  I  read,  that  you  decided 
to  sell. 

KISTLER:   Yes.   I  did  retain  one  press,  though,  which  I 
worked  with.   That's  when  I  moved,  first  to--  Let's  see. 
There  was  a  print  distributor  that  I  worked  with  for  a 
while,  and  I  took  my  press  out  there  and  printed.   Then  I 
moved  from  there  down  to  Washington  and  Normandie.   At  that 
time  my  pressman  got  this  allergy  to  the  acids  and 
things.   I  saw  that  it  was  necessary  to  make  a  large 
investment  to  make  a  safe  plant,  and  I  didn't  want  to  bring 
anybody  else  in  and  train  them  unless  I  could  put  in  an 
air-conditioned  plant. 

RATNER:   Right,  I  remember  you  mentioning  that. 
KISTLER:   Tamarind  has  found  that  it  is  necessary.   Their 
whole  operation  is  air-conditioned.   They  work  with  a  great 
deal  of  care  as  far  as  the  handling  of  the  chemicals  and 
the  acids  and  things  like  that  are  concerned.   I  wasn't  so 
careful,  and  I  commenced  to  have  trouble  with  my  hands 
breaking  out  and  everything.   So  I  just  figured  that  it 
wasn't  worth  my  going  ahead  with  it.   Because  I  was  in  my 


eighties  then,  and  that  seemed  to  be  too  far  along  to  take 
up  a  big  project  of  putting  in  a  plant  and  paying  for  it, 
because  I  knew  that  it  would  take  quite  a  long  time  to 
develop  it  to  the  point  where  it  would  be  profitable. 
RATNER:   I  know  that  you  did  some  printing  after  1976,  when 
you  sold  the  plant,  though.   Where  was  that  press  that  you 
kept?   Because  I  know,  for  example,  in  '77,  and  even  a 
little  later,  '78,  you  were  still  working  with  Chariot.   So 
where  was  the  press  that  you  were  using  for  that? 
KISTLER:   Well,  that  was  at  Washington  and  Normandie. 
That's  where  I  did  the  last  thing  with  Chariot,  which  was 
Kei  Viti. 

RATNER:   Right.   That  Polynesian-- 

KISTLER:   That  series  of  five  prints.   And  I  also  finished 
up  the  Ten  Views  of  the  Moon  for  Joe  Mugnaini  there. 
RATNER:   At  that  plant. 

KISTLER:   But  I  found  that  I  would  have  to  train  another 
printer,  and  it  was  hard  to  find  anyone  that  had  the 
temperament  that  could  work  with  the  irregularity  that  we 
had  in  printing  by  the  offset  method,  that  needed  to  be 
organized  in  such  a  way  that  it  could  be  profitable.   Air- 
conditioning  was  an  absolute  necessity  at  that  time.   It 
became  evident  as  an  absolute  necessity. 

RATNER:   Okay,  I  also  wanted  to  ask  you--  Actually,  a  year 
before  you  sold  your  plant,  in  1975,  Merle  Armitage  died. 


How  much  contact  did  you  have  with  him  during  those  years 
previous  to  that? 

KISTLER:   Well,  Armitage  moved  out  into  the  mountains  out-- 
oh,  let's  see- -near  Mount  San  Gorgonio.   He  found  a  place 
there  that  he  was  fond  of.   He  discovered  it  when  he  was 
with  the  military  and  he  was  doing  procurement  work  for 
them.   He  was  sort  of  the  man  that  would  take  and  push 
things,  you  know,  and  get  them  done.   He  was  rather 
reckless  with  the  chances  that  he  took,  and,  of  course, 
it's  people  that  take  a  chance  that  really  make  the 
discoveries.   It's  these  people  that  sit  around  and  have  to 
have  everything  perfect  before  they  do  anything  that  never 
get  anything  done,  although  they  might  be  quite  competent 
if  they'd  just  move.   But  Armitage  was  one  of  those  people 
who  could  take  a  situation  and  make  it  work.   He  was  a  very 
good  executive  in  that  respect.   He  was  the  kind  of  man 
that  overcame  difficulties  as  they  arose.   Very  often  it 
seemed  as  though  he  was  putting  himself  very  much  out  on 
the  limb,  but  he  managed  to  get  them  through.   There  was  a 
demand  for  getting  things  done  in  the  Second  World  War,  and 
that  was  what  he  was  doing.   So  he  had  to  do  quite  a  bit  of 
flying  for  procurement  and  things  like  that,  and  he  passed 
over  this  area  around  the  back  of  Mount  San  Gorgonio  that 
he  liked.   So  when  he  got  out  of  the  army,  he  decided  he 
would  retire  there.   That's  out  at  Apple  Valley.   So  that 


was  the  reason  that  he  located  out  there,  because  he  loved 
the  outdoors,  and  he  was  pretty  well  along  in  years  too  at 
that  time  and  was  ready  for  retirement.   I  used  to  go  out 
and  see  him  quite  often,  maintained  an  association  with 
him,  but  we  had  no  projects  or  anything  after  he  came  out 
of  the  army. 

RATNER:   Then  also  in  1975,  that  was  the  year  you  had  a 
show  at  Cal[ifornia]  State  University,  Northridge,  of  the 
books  that  you  had  printed,  many  of  which,  of  course,  you 
printed  with  Merle  Armitage,  and  we  discussed  those  earlier 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   How  did  that  exhibition  come  to  be? 
KISTLER:   Well,  it  was  arranged  through  my  friend  Carl 
Haverlin,  who  was  the  manager  of  Broadcast  Music 
Incorporated  [BMI].   He  was  a  boyhood  friend,  and  we  had 
projects  together  in  later  life  of  one  sort  and  another. 
He  was  always  interested  in  the  printing  work  that  I  was 
doing,  and  he  got  me  in  touch  with  some  of  the  people  at 
Northridge.   And  I  gave  them  some  books  out  of  my  library 
and  some  prints.   My  work  was  known  amongst  artists  in  the 
[San  Fernando]  Valley,  so  that  they  became  interested  in 
what  I  was  doing.   I  have  a  collection  of  books  that  I  gave 
to  them.   They  have  quite  a  few  of  my  prints  out  there. 
Carl  Haverlin  was  responsible  for  making  that  exhibition 


possible.   They  had  a  meeting  at  which  I  was  the  honored 
guest,  and  that's  how  it  came  about  was  through  my 
friend.   Interestingly  enough,  Carl  was  one  of  those 
people,  too,  that  could  get  things  done.   I  usually  figured 
out  what  we  would  do,  and  he,  with  his  enthusiasm,  would 
take  them  up  and  put  them  over.   [laughter]   I  gave  him  the 
idea  very  often,  and  he  was  the  one  that  carried  out  the 
execution  of  them.   He  was  a  very  good  organizer  and  things 
of  that  sort. 

RATNER:   It  seems  like  it  was  an  interesting  exhibition. 
KISTLER:   Yes,  it  was,  and  they  have  my  work  out  there  now 
at  Northridge. 

RATNER:   The  books  and  things. 
KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   That's  great.   Then  in  1975,  I  discovered--! 
wasn't  sure  if  this  was  before  or  after  you  sold  your 
plant- -you  were  on  a  trip  to  New  York  and  you  met  with  the 
art  historian  and  print  expert  Hyatt  Mayor,  who  urged  you 
apparently  to  establish  a  printing  plant  in  New  York.   Tell 
me  about  that  meeting  and  your  reaction  to  his  suggestion. 
KISTLER:   Oh,  that  was  during  the  war,  and  I  didn't  want  to 
locate  in  New  York.   He  urged  me  to  come  back  there  and  go 
to  work,  but  it  was  during  the  war,  and  there  was 
substantial  competition  there  in  [George]  Miller,  who  was 
doing  a  very  good  job  and  has  done  more  extensive  work  than 


I  have  in  lithography.   So  I  didn't  think  that  it  was  a 
good  idea.   Of  course.  New  York  tries  to  get  as  much 
notoriety  there  as  they  can.   They  saw  a  possibility  of 
getting  some  of  Southern  California's  notoriety,  but  I  knew 
that  I  didn't  want  to  locate  there  permanently.   So  I 
didn't  do  anything  with  it,  although  he  did  urge  me  to 
establish  my  work  there.   But  during  the  war  it  wasn't  a 
good  idea.   I  left  before  the  war  ended  and  came  home 
anyway,  and  I  was  glad  to  get  back  in  Southern 
California.   My  reason  for  going  to  the  East  was  my  wife  at 
that  time  [Naomi  Tucker  Kistler]--  Her  sister  had  married  a 
man  and  gone  back  East,  so  she  [the  sister]  was  pregnant-- 
and  I  had  my  home  at  3060  Patricia  Avenue  in  Los  Angeles  at 
that  time--and  she  said  that  she  was  going  to  go  back  to 
stay  with  her  sister  until  the  baby  came.   I  happened  to  be 
at  loose  ends  at  that  time,  and  I  told  her  that  I  would  go 
back  there  with  her  if  she  was  going  back  there.   Because 
she  went  back  once  before  and  stayed  about  four  months,  and 
I  practically  had  to  get  the  police  out  to  get  her  back, 
[laughter]   So  I-- 

RATNER:   You  didn't  take  any  chances  that  time. 
KISTLER:   No,  SO  I  went  back,  too.   Because  I  didn't  want 
to  be  alone  in  my  house.   I  had  a  beautiful  house  on 
Patricia  Avenue.   It  was  individually  designed  and 
everything.   One  of  the  builders  came  and  went  through  the 


place  and  said,  "My  God,  this  man  put  more  wood  in  this 
place  than  is  needed."   He  says,  "It's  built  like  a 
[inaudible]."   [laughter]   It  was  really  very  nicely 
done.   At  that  time  I  bought  a  lot  in  a  very  nice 
neighborhood  in  Cheviot  Hills  for  $1,000-- 
RATNER:   Wow. 

KISTLER:   --if  you  can  imagine  that. 
RATNER:   No,  I  can't. 

KISTLER:   This  house,  which  was  all  individually  designed-- 
It  wasn't  put  up  like  they  are  now,  you  know.   They  take  it 
and  make  a  whole  lot  of  houses  and  cut  them  up  and  have 
them  so  they  are  put  together.   You've  got  to  have  a 
pattern  to  put  them  up  in,  but  they're  all  the  same.   There 
would  be  dozens  of  them  in  a  tract  that  would  have  the  same 
layout  and  everything  else.   But  mine  was  individually 
designed,  hand-rubbed  ceilings  and  everything.   It  was  a 
beautiful  five-room  bungalow,  two  bedrooms  and  a  dining 
room  and  a  living  room  and  a  kitchen.   And  the  building 
cost  me  about  $2,500.   Isn't  that  amazing? 
RATNER:   Yes,  it's  upsetting  today.   [laughter] 


MARCH  28,  1989 

RATNER:   Okay,  right  before  I  flipped  the  tape,  you  were 

telling  me  about  your  house  that  you  built  for  $2,500. 

What  were  you  able  to  sell  it  for,  then? 

KISTLER:   I  sold  it  at  the  end  of  the  war  for  $20,000. 

RATNER:   So  you  had  quite  a  profit. 

KISTLER:   Yes,  it  was  a  profit.   That  gave  me  the  money  to 

buy  the  place  at  Carondelet  [Street]  and  Third  Street.   The 

Carondelet  and  Third  Street  nearly  broke  my  wife's  heart 

because--  I  had  to  do  something.   There  weren't  any  jobs 

that  I  could  get  that  would  pay  a  decent  wage,  and  so  I  had 

to  get  out  and  hustle  them  myself. 

RATNER:   Oh,  so  that's  when  you  opened  that  plant. 

KISTLER:   Yeah. 

RATNER:   Okay,  well,  jumping  way  up  to  1981,  I  read  a 

letter  from  Clinton  Adams  to  you  dated  July  1981.   He  was 

responding,  I  guess,  to  a  letter  you'd  written  to  him 

because  you  were  interested  in  providing  Tamarind  with 

regraining  services.   I  didn't  know  if  stones  had  become 

unavailable  or  they  were-- 

KISTLER:   Well,  they  were  getting  scarce. 

RATNER:   So  did  you  end  up  doing  that? 

KISTLER:   I  was  going  to  do  some  regraining  for  them? 

RATNER:   That's  what  it  said. 


KISTLER:   Well,  that  must  have  been  some  mistake,  because  I 
never  got  into  that. 

RATNER:   Maybe  it  was  just  an  idea  or  something. 
KISTLER:   I  might  have  sent  them  some  information  on 
graining,  but  I  never  contemplated  doing  any  graining  for 

RATNER:   Okay.   Also  in  1981,  in  November  of  that  year,  the 
Heritage  Gallery  in  Beverly  Hills  held  an  exhibition 
"Homage  to  Lynton  Kistler. "   Tell  me  how  that  came  about. 
KISTLER:   Well,  the  man  who  owned  the  place--  Let's  see, 
what  was  his  name?   [Benjamin]  Horowitz.   Mr.  Horowitz  was 
interested  in  my  work,  so  I  made  my  prints  available  to 
him,  and  he  put  on  an  exhibition  there  and  tried  to  sell 
them.   But  there--  Things  that  are  successful  today  are 
successful  because  somebody  gets  behind  them  and  pushes 
them,  has  money  to  exploit  them.   The  galleries  at  that 
time--  I  don't  know  how  they  do  now,  but  at  that  time,  they 
were  just  merchants  in  art,  and  there  hadn't  been  enough-- 
Even  today  there  hasn't  been  enough  exploitation  of  the  art 
field  and  the  possibility  that  there  is  for  selling  fine 
art.   It  hasn't  been  done  on  the  scale  that  some  of  the 
other  things  are  done.   Almost  everything  is  sold  today 
like  Campbell's  soup.   In  other  words,  they  spend  a  lot  of 
money  on  the  cans  and  on  the  labels  and  on  getting  people 
to  buy  the  product,  and  the  product  doesn't  cost  half  as 


much  as  the  advertising  and  the  packaging  and  promotion  of 
the  product.   There's  never  been  that  effort  put  on  fine 

RATNER:   But  still  some  changes  have  occurred  since  the 
thirties  in  terms  of  interest  in  prints,  and  I'm  wondering 
how  you  might  characterize  the  changes  in  gallery  interest, 
increased  patronage,  the  increased  interest  on  the  part  of 
museums  as  well  as  the  increased  value  of  prints  over,  you 
know,  this  span  of  time  since  the  thirties  when  you  began 

KISTLER:   Well,  there's  been  more  interest.   For  instance, 
the  Los  Angeles  County  Art  Association  has  started  out  at 
what  was  Exposition  Park.   They  had  a  gallery  out  there, 
and  I  did  my  original  exhibits  out  at  Exposition  Park.   For 
three  or  four  years,  I  think  I  had  nearly  half  of  the 
prints  in  the  show  sometimes  that  I  printed  of  various 
artists.   You  know  what  has  happened  as  far  as--  There  are 
more  art  dealers  today  and  they're  more  sophisticated  and 
they  are  doing  more  promotional  work,  but  there  has  been  no 
real  organization  in  the  associations  to  sell  art  to  the 
public  and  promote  it,  and  that  certainly  could  be  done. 
RATNER:   Well,  how  would  you  summarize  your  contributions 
to  the  field? 

KISTLER:   Well,  I  would  say  that  I  became  interested  in 
making  art  available  to  the  general  public  on  an 


inexpensive  basis  and  used  lithography  as  an  introductory 

method.   I  feel  as  though  I  made  a  contribution  in  drawing 

attention  to  an  art  medium  that  has  developed  considerably 

since  I  had  my  first  shop  in  my  garage.   I  explored  the 

possibilities  and  introduced  quite  a  number  of  innovations 

in  working  and  in  the  method  of  working  in  the  materials 

that  were  used.   I  feel  as  though  the  work  that  I  did  in 

the  early  thirties  and  forties  made  a  field  that  some  of 

the  other  hand  lithographers  have  been  able  to  exploit 

since  I  first  took  up  hand  lithography.   I  had  the  first 

organized  hand-printing  shop  for  artists  in  Los  Angeles.   I 

was  the  first  one  that  established  a  shop  for  artists  where 

they  could  have  their  work  done.   I  tried  to  sell  it,  too, 

and  did  sell  quite  a  bit  of  it. 

RATNER:   What  would  you  say  were  some  of  your  very  best 

moments  as  a  lithographer? 

KISTLER:   Oh,  I  think  some  of  the  prints  that  I've  pulled 

from  the  stone.   I  think  that  this  two-color  print  here  was 

one  of  the-- 

RATNER:   The  Chariot  Woman  with  Child  on  Back? 

KISTLER:   Yes. 

RATNER:   That  was  your  first  one,  right? 

KISTLER:   I  think  that  the  work  that  I  did  with  Chariot  was 

the  most  important  that  I  did.   The  work  that  I  did  with 

Joe  Mugnaini  was  another  one.   I  was  very  much  pleased  with 


the  work  that  I  did  with  [Stanton]  Macdonald-Wright .   He 
was  a  man  of  great  imagination,  and  he  had  a  theory  that 
there  was  a  relationship  between  artwork  and  music.   The 
print  that  I  did  with  him  was  one  of  the  highlights.   The 
books  that  I  printed  with  Merle  Armitage  were  of  great 
pleasure  to  me.   The  first  book  that  we  printed  offset, 
which  was  a  departure  from  regular  book  production,  was  the 
[Eugen]  Maier-Krieg  book  [The  Work  of  Maier-Krieg] .   I  was 
very  much  delighted  with  that,  because  it  was  a  departure 
from  regular  book  production,  which  depended  almost 
entirely  at  that  time  on  work  from--  Work  in  the  typeset 
books.   The  first  Chariot  Picture  Book  was  a  high  point. 
The  thirty-two  lithographs  all  hand  drawn  on  the  plate  and 
printed  on  an  offset  press  from  the  work  of  the  artist  and 
from  four  to  eight  colors  on  a  35"  X  45"  sheet,  eight  of 
them  on  a  plate,  registered,  I  think  was--  I  don't  think  it 
has  ever  been  equaled  to  this  day.   I  don't  think  there  is 
anybody  who  has  printed  anything  quite  so  important  as  that 
book.   Did  you  see  it? 
RATNER:   Yes,  I  did. 

KISTLER:   That  was  a  triumph  as  far  as  I  was  concerned.   I 
also  printed  a  book  in  my  father  [William  A.  Kistler]'s 
plant  of  a  collection  of  Edward  Weston's  work  [The  Art  of 
Edward  Weston] .   Both  of  those  books  made  the  [American 
Institute  of  Graphic  Arts]  Fifty  Books  of  the  Year.   So 


that  I  not  only  excelled  in  printing  in  offset,  but  also  in 
letterpress.   The  Edward  Weston  book  was  printed  by 
letterpress,  and  it  became  one  of  the  Fifty  Books  of  the 
Year.   Then  there  was  another  book  [Warren  Newcombe]  that  I 
printed.   It  was  the  work  of  Warren  Newcombe,  a  collection 
of  his  paintings,  all  done  in  black  and  white,  and  that  was 
printed  offset,  which  at  that  time  was  a  departure  to 
reproduction.   So  that  all  three  of  those  books  represented 
a  different  approach.   The  first  one  was  printed  from 
plates  that  were  drawn  directly  on  the  lithograph  plates 
and  printed  offset.   The  Warren  Newcombe  book  was  a 
reproduction  of  his  paintings  in  black  and  white.   It  made 
the  Fifty  Books  of  the  Year,  and  that  was  a  reproduction 
job  in  offset.   The  first  one  was  printing  from  original 
plates,  and  the  reproduction  in  offset,  and  the  third  one 
was  the  photographs  of  Edward  Weston,  and  that  was  a 
letterpress  job.   So  that  I  was  working  in  all  of  those 
different  mediums.   My  father  was  a  very  competent  printer, 
and  I  was  working  for  him  at  the  time,  but  it  was  my 
association  with  Armitage  and  my  interest  in  art  that 
brought  those  books  to  our  plant  to  be  done.   I  was  as 
proud  of  the  work  that  I  did  there  as  any  that  I  turned 

Of  course,  the  work  that  I  did  with  Macdonald-Wright  I 
thought  was  outstanding,  particularly  the  eleven-color 


lithograph  that  I  printed  in  my  own  plant.   Those  things  I 
thought  were  the  highlights  of  my  work.   I'm  very  proud  of 
the  work  that  I  did  with  Joe  Mugnaini.   I  thought  that  that 
was  very  important.   And,  of  course,  this  lithograph  of 
Herbert  Ryman  I  think  is  one  of  the  finest  that  I've  ever 
seen  in  printing.   It  was  a  very  demanding  thing  to 
print.   We  only  did  two  copies.   The  artist  didn't  want  to 
make  an  edition  of  it.   I  pulled  one  copy  for  the  artist, 
which  he  disposed  of  to  one  of  the  prominent  people  in  the 
motion  picture  business,  and  the  other  one,  of  course,  you 
saw.   So  that  that  was  the  utilization  of  the  lithographic 
process  for  the  qualities  that  are  inherent  in  the  method 
itself,  which  are  so  important.   I  think  that  the  print 
that  I  showed  you  on  the  door  there  of  Ryman ' s  is  one  of 
the  finest  lithograph  prints  that  I've  ever  seen.   It  was 
made  possible  by  the  selection  of  the  right  stone  and  the 
right  artist,  and  I  do  say  myself  that  I  did  a  good  job 
printing  on  it. 

RATNER:   It's  a  lovely  print.   Those  things  sound  worthy  of 
being  highlights  definitely. 

KISTLER:   Another  thing  that  I  was  very  much  pleased  with 
was  the  little  miniature  book  that  I  gave  you  of  the 
Picture  Book,  which  I  thought  came  out  awfully  well.   I  had 
a  very  good  binder  on  it,  and  it  is  well  done.   It  tends  to 
be  a  little  bit  muddy  in  some  of  the  prints,  but  unless  you 


just  faked  a  lot  as  you--  The  making  of  the  plates--  It  was 

made  for  more  or  less  a  record  anyway,  so  that  most  of  them 

came  out  awfully  well,  came  out  as  well  as  they  did  in 

their  original.   But  I  was  very  much  pleased  with  that 

job.   So  that's  about  it. 

RATNER:   Well,  we've  talked  at  length  about  your  career  as 

a  lithographer,  and  I  wondered  if  there  was  any--I  know 

that  took  up  so  much  of  your  time.   I  wondered  if  there  was 

anything  else  with  which  you  were  involved  over  the  years 

that  you  might  want  to  mention. 

KISTLER:   Gee,  I  don't  know.   I've  just  been  a  lithographer 

all  my  life. 

RATNER:   A  busy  one,  too,  I  know.   Well,  those  are  really 

all  the  questions  I  have.   Is  there  anything  else  at  all 

that  you'd  like  to  add? 

KISTLER:   No,  I  don't  know  of  anything. 

RATNER:   Okay,  well,  thank  you  very  much. 

KISTLER:   I  can't  think  of  anything  except  that  I've 

enjoyed  working  with  you.   I  think  you've  been  very  patient 


RATNER:   Oh,  you've  been  great.   You  worry  too  much.   Thank 

you  very  much  on  behalf  of  UCLA.   I  enjoyed  the  experience 

very  much  myself  and  learned  a  tremendous  amount.   Thank 




Adams,  Clinton,  130,  185, 
196,  202,  224,  225,  237, 
250,  283,  295 

American  Contemporary 
Gallery,  197 

American  Institute  of 

Graphic  Arts,  51,  80,  81, 
109,  299 

American  Society  of 

Composers,  Authors,  and 
Publishers,  171 

Annex  Gallery,  91 

Anthony,  Earl  C. ,  103 

Armitage,  Merle,  17,  18, 
26,  41-42,  43,  46,  47, 
49,  54,  56,  57,  62-63, 
78,  79,  80-81,  83,  88, 
89-90,  92-94,  95-96,  100- 
102,  103,  107-9,  110, 
119,  128,  134,  149,  225, 
281,  289-91,  299,  300 

Asmar,  Alice,  273 

Associated  American 

Artists,  73-74,  121-22, 
128,  197,  198 

Backus,  Standish,  129 

Baldwin,  John,  129 

Barr,  Thomas,  19,  47,  56, 

Barrett,  Lawrence,  147-48, 

Bartlett,  Ivan,  129 
Beaumont,  Arthur,  276 
Beetz,  Carl,  129 
Berman,  Eugene,  205,  219, 

225,  227-30,  237,  250, 

Biddle,  George,  130 
Bisttram,  Emil,  130 
Blanchard  Press,  171 
Blumberg,  Fanny,  130 
Botsford,  Edwin,  56,  130 
Bradbury,  Ray,  222-23,  261 
Breneiser,  John,  56,  130 
Breneiser,  Stanley,  130 
Brice,  William,  208,  225 

Broadcast  Music 

Incorporated,  170-71,  291 
"Brooklyn  Museum 

Retrospective  Print  Show, 

1913-1947,"  144-45 
Buff,  Conrad,  67,  276 
Burkhardt,  Hans,  208 
Burroughs,  John  Coleman, 

Byrnes,  Barbara,  197 

California  Printmakers,  76- 

California  State  Fair,  113 

California  State 

University,  Northridge, 
78,  119,  291-92 

Chabot  Gallery,  239 

Chambers,  Mary  Richards 
(great-grandmother),  5-6 

Chariot,  Jean,  18,  28,  46, 
47-48,  51,  54,  56,  63, 
72,  74,  80,  88-89,  94, 
100,  118,  128-29,  135-39, 
142,  144-45,  147-70,  172- 
85,  189,  209,  210,  211, 
214,  215,  219,  221,  224, 
225,  227,  231,  237,  239, 
244,  250-52,  254-56,  285- 
87,  298,  299 

Chariot,  Zohmah  Day,  149, 
151,  166,  179,  183 

Chouinard,  Nelbert  M.  ,  142, 

Chouinard  Art  Institute, 
22,  140,  141,  142,  185 

Cirrus,  278,  282 

Clark,  William  Andrews, 
Memorial  Library,  49,  52, 
135,  176,  178,  192,  283 

Claudel,  Paul,  51,  168 

Cleveland  Print  Club,  76-77 

Contemporaries  Graphic  Art 
Center,  278 

Copley  Gallery,  197,  199, 
201,  202,  203 

Craig,  Thomas,  131 


Dawson's  Book  Shop,  168-69, 

Day,  Richard,  56,  80,  131 
De  Soto,  Ernie,  152 
Dike,  Phil,  129,  208,  219, 

250,  268 
Disneyland,  133,  265 
Doolittle,  James,  11 

E.  Weyhe,  83,  84 

Ernst,  Max,  199,  201,  202-3 

Escondito  Blade,  6 

Farmer,  Thomas,  131 

Fechin,  Nicholai,  274 

Feitelson,  Lorser,  131, 
133,  151,  152-53,  208, 
216,  227-28,  269,  276 

Fleming,  Alexander  Patrick, 

Fleury,  Gene,  131 

Ford  Foundation,  241 

Foshay,  M.  Amelia,  9 

Fox,  C.  Frank,  110 

Freeman,  Donald,  131,  271 

Freeman,  Lydia,  271 

Fry,  Mary  Finley,  132,  245 

Fuchs  and  Lang  Manufac- 
turing Company,  43,  45, 

Funk,  Joseph,  201,  204 

Cans,  Robert,  125,  161-62, 

Gans  Ink  Company,  125,  161, 

189,  191 
Garden,  Mary,  92-93,  95 
Gemini  G.E.L,,  278,  284 
Geritz,  Franz,  56 
Graham,  Martha,  102,  110 
Great  Depression,  19,  53- 

54,  75 
Griner,  Jenny,  3 
Grossman,  Tatyana,  278 

Haines,  Richard,  132,  141, 

Hammond  Lumber  Company,  12 
Hansen,  Ejnar,  272-73 
Hatfield,  Dalzell,  62,  90 

Hatfield,  Ruth,  62 
Hatfield  Gallery,  62,  78 
Haverlin,  Carl,  10,  17,  34, 

41-42,  79,  102-4,  170, 

Heller,  Jules,  201 
Heritage  Gallery,  296 
Hokusai,  158-59 
Hollywood  Bowl,  107 
"Homage  to  Lynton  Kistler, " 

Hurd,  Peter,  132,  272 

"Impressions  Printed  by 
Hand  from  Stone  and  Zinc 
by  Lynton  Kistler  at  the 
Stendahl  Gallery, "  56 

Jackson,  Everett  G. ,  274 
James,  George  Horton,  8, 

31,  32 
Jepson  Art  Institute,  141 
Jones,  Isabel  Morse,  107 

Kantor,  Paul,  197 

KECA  radio  station,  103, 

Kelly,  John,  267 
Kent,  Rockwell,  64,  88,  281 
Kistler,  Helen  Mikesell 

(second  wife),  231 
Kistler,  John 

(grandfather),  4-5,  35 
Kistler,  Lelah  Morris 

(third  wife),  2,  3,  4 
Kistler,  Mamie  Chambers 

(mother),  5,  6,  9,  11 
Kistler,  Naomi  Tucker 

(first  wife),  19,  21, 

293,  295 
Kistler,  Rodney  J.,  30 
Kistler,  William  A. 

(father),  2,  5,  6-9,  11, 

14,  15,  16,  19,  20,  21, 

27,  30,  31-33,  35,  40-41, 

51-52,  53,  54,  69-70,  87, 

111-12,  126,  135,  182, 

195,  299,  300 
Knight,  Laura,  64,  96,  281 


Landacre,  Paul,  56-57,  63, 

103-6,  132,  271-72 
Landau,  Felix,  197 
Land  of  Sunshine,  30 
Langsner,  Jules,  185,  241 
Lebrun,  Rico,  208,  225 
Little  Gallery,  197 
London,  Jack,  31 
Lord,  Jack,  77,  159,  166-67 
Los  Angeles  Art 

Association,  66-67,  76, 

Los  Angeles  Art  Institute, 

151,  152 
Los  Angeles  Art  Students 

League,  23,  24 
Los  Angeles  City  Council, 

Los  Angeles  County  Art 

Association,  297 
Los  Angeles  County  Museum 

of  Art,  106,  165 
Los  Angeles  County  Museum 

of  History,  Science,  and 

Art,  23,  65 
Los  Angeles  Engraving 

Company,  86 
Los  Angeles  Grand  Opera 

Company,  17,  41,  79,  90, 

95,  108,  281 

Los  Angeles  Lithograph 

Company,  98 
Los  Angeles  Philharmonic 

Orchestra,  17,  93,  108 
Lovick,  Gerd,  57 
Lundeberg,  Helen,  132-33, 

208,  276 
Lutz,  Dan,  208,  275 

Macdonald-Wright,  Stanton, 
23,  24,  26,  63,  74,  124, 
185,  189,  190,  195-96, 
205-7,  216,  224,  231, 
234,  259,  299,  300-301 

Maier-Kreig,  Eugen,  42,  79, 

96,  98-99,  299 
Majors,  Robert,  129,  133, 

Man  Ray,  199-201,  203 
Maris,  Marcia,  165,  190,  268 

Marsh  Art  Service,  72 
Martin,  Fletcher,  133 
Mayor,  Hyatt,  292 
McKee,  William  E.,  133 
Melzner,  Ludwig,  97,  98 
Messenger,  Ivan,  133 
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer,  82-83, 

134,  193,  263-64 
Metropolitan  Museum  of  Art, 

122,  153-54 
Michel,  Toby,  282 
Millant,  Jean,  278 
Miller,  Burr,  120 
Miller,  George,  120-21, 

154,  292-93 
Millier,  Arthur,  68 
Modern  Institute  of  Art 

(Beverly  Hills),  197 
Molino  Campos,  Florencio, 

59-60,  276 
Morgan,  Marian,  11 
Morse,  Peter,  158,  176, 

219,  268 
Mugnaini,  Joseph,  221-22, 

250,  260-61,  287,  289, 

298,  301 

Napolitano,  Giovanni,  100- 

Negulesco,  Jean,  130,  265 
Neuner  Stationery  Company, 

Newcombe,  Warren,  26,  27, 

57,  81,  82-83,  129,  193 
New  York  World's  Fair,  122 
Nutting,  Myron,  262 

Oceanside  Wave,  6 
O'Higgins,  Pablo,  270-71 
Orozco,  Jose  Clemente,  47 
Otis  Art  Institute,  22, 

Out  West,  8,  30-31 

Pajaud,  William,  263 
Paradise,  Phil,  129,  208, 

Patrick,  James,  133 
Perls,  Frank,  197 
Peron,  Juan,  276 


Perry,  Ernest,  164,  165, 

Philbrook,  William,  136 
Picasso,  Pablo,  108 
Pinto,  James,  133 
Plummer,  Elmer,  133 
Price,  Vincent,  197 
Prohibition  Party,  4 

Quinn,  Noel,  270 

Richards,  Mary 

( grandmother ) ,  1 
Richfield  Oil  Company,  172 
Rivera,  Diego,  47 
Ritchie,  Ward,  91,  105 
Rodriguez,  Jose,  102,  104 
Rohrer,  Paul,  195 
Roosevelt,  Theodore,  7 
Ross,  Kenneth,  151,  152 
Ryman,  Herbert,  133,  193, 

194,  265-66,  283,  301 

Sanders,  Herschel,  264 
Schoppe,  Palmer,  67,  133- 

34,  275 
Seeds,  Elise  Cavanna,  51, 

57,  89,  90,  102,  119,  129 
Senefelder,  Alois,  15,  43- 

44,  46 
Shakers,  6 
Sheets,  Millard,  22,  26, 

73,  75,  90-92,  189,  190, 

208,  267,  287 
Shore,  Henrietta,  57,  88, 

89,  134,  181-82 
Sloane,  Blanding,  57 
Smith,  Jack  Martin,  134 
Smithsonian  Institution, 

77,  131,  165,  179,  229- 

30,  259 
Steep,  George  Vail,  8,  32 
Stendahl,  Earl,  21,  57 
Stendahl  Gallery,  19,  21, 

23,  60,  62,  90,  130 
Stewart,  Virginia,  102 
Strathmore  Paper  Company, 

53,  123 
Stravinsky,  Igor,  107 
Stussy,  Jan,  262-63 

Swartz,  Fred,  218 
Swiggett,  Jean,  134 

Tamarind  Institute,  282-83 
Tamarind  Lithography 

Workshop,  219,  242,  278, 

282,  295 
Thiebaud,  Wayne,  208,  274 
Tibbets,  Lawrence,  11 
Tyler,  Kenneth,  278 
Tyler,  Muriel,  275 

United  States  Army,  12 
Universal  Limited  Art 

Editions,  278 
University  of  California, 

Los  Angeles,  22,  23,  185, 

195-96,  225,  262 
University  of  Colorado, 

University  of  Southern 

California,  22,  201,  204, 


Van  Soelen,  Theodore,  249- 

Walt  Disney  Studio,  192-93, 

Wayne,  June,  185-86,  196, 

204,  207,  208,  225,  237, 

240,  241,  279,  283 
Weston,  Edward,  26,  46,  81, 

84-85,  86-87,  109,  134 
Wise,  Vera,  274 
Wong,  Tyrus,  273 
Wood,  Beatrice,  26-27,  57, 

90,  130,  275 
Woollett,  William,  276-77 
Works  Progress 

Administration,  26,  91, 

141-42,  284-85 
Wurdemann,  Helen,  66,  76, 


Young,  Joseph,  165-66 

Zeitlin,  Jake,  62,  65,  67, 

159,  178-79 
Zigrosser,  Carl,  215-16 



Alphabet  For  Adults, 

American  Pioneers, 

Appian  Way, 

April  Witch, 

Art  of  Edward  Weston,  The, 

Balboa  Harbor, 

Balloon  Ascension, 

Boulder  Dam, 

Bus  Stop, 

Carmel  Mission, 


Castle,  The, 

Chicken  Woman, 

Corral,  The, 

Dragon,  The, 


Fifty  Photographs  by  Edward  Weston, 

Fit  for  a  King:  The  Merle  Armitage  Book  of  Food, 


Gaucho  Bronco  Buster, 

Gaucho  Rider, 

Gershwin's  Music, 





27,  84-87, 
109,  299-300 










222,  262 







190,  259 


Giovanni  Napolitano;  Fifteen  Reproductions  of  100 
His  Work, 

Gold  Dredger,  274 

Green  Morning,  A,  262 

Halloween,  261 

Harpist,  The,  275 

Hawaiian  Drummer,  154   155 

252^  254' 

Henrietta  Shore,  88-89,  111, 


Holiday,  275 

Horse  Frightened  by  Lightening,  267 

Hound,  The,  261 

House  on  Fire,  265 

How  To  Make  a  Lithograph,  215-20,  243 

Igor  Stravinsky,  107-8 

Jean  Chariot's  Prints;  A  Catalogue  Raisonne,         176 

Indian  Man,  252 

Kei  Viti,  177,  256,  289 

Le  Roman  Noir,  200 

Leviathan,  261 

Lithographs  of  Richard  Day,  The,  80 

Little  Seamstress,  The,  173-75,  256 

Malibu  Mountains,  264 

Malinche,  252 

Man  and  Woman,  266 

Man  with  Bird  on  His  Head,  271 


Maria,  274 

Martha  Graham,  110 

Max  Ernst:  Thirty  Years  of  His  Work,  201,  204 

Millard  Sheets,  91 

Mock  Battle,  253-54 

Mock  Victory,  254 

Modern  Dance,  102 

New  Arrivals,  257 

Nocturnal  Cathedral,  228-30 

Operation,  275 

Picture  Book,  28-29,  48-53, 

56,  80,  84, 
100,  101, 
128,  135, 
157-59,  168- 
70,  181,  189, 
252,  299,  301 

Picture  Book  No.  II,  156-66,  169- 

70,  177,  189, 
191,  231,  255 

Pilgrims,  252 

Pioneers,  272 

Pisan  Fantasy,  258 

Plights  of  Stardom,  271 

Pueblos  in  the  Rain,  267 

Rainbow  Castle,  164,  268-69 

Robot  World,  261 

Rockwell  Kent, 


San  Francisco  Cable  Car,  267 


Sunday  Dress,  142,  145,  251 

Ten  Views  of  the  Moon,  289 

Tomas,  274 

Tortilla  Lesson,  The,  118,  145,  251 

Tower  on  Mars,  A,  222,  251 

Tunnel,  The,  266 

Two  Statements  by  Pablo  Picasso,  108 

Verona,  259 

Visitor,  The,  262 

Warren  Newcombe,  81,  88,  111, 


Wash  Day,  263 

Waterlily,  258 

Winter,  New  York,  267 

Woman  with  Child  on  Back,  47,  54,  128, 

251,  298 

Woodcutter,  The,  271 

Work  of  Maier-Kreig,  The,  42,  79,  96, 

98-99,  100,